ST. STEPHEN – There’s no feeling quite like playing the sport you love.
Keiran Richards fell in love with football when he started playing seven years ago.
“My dad got me into it, and then I fell in love,” Richards said.
During his first year as a Spartan in 2018, the undefeated team won the provincial banner, making them the final team to win the provincial banner for 10-man football in the province.
In 2019, Richards played on team New Brunswick.
“It was scary at first,” he said. “But once I spent some time practising, and meeting the guys, it was good.”
Like many other aspects of life that have felt the impact of COVID-19, sports at every level were affected. Unfortunately, Richards lost out on his 2020 football season.
“It really threw things off,” he said.
But that didn’t stop him from working hard to continue his sport after high school.
“I always wanted to play in the next level … that’s what drives me,” said Richards.
Richards will continue playing the sport he loves at Acadia this autumn, where he will pursue studies in kinesiology.
With family and friends in the area, and a great tour of the campus, he knew it was the right place to begin his studies and continue his football career.
“Everyone was really welcoming,” he noted.
Neil Grant, head coach of the St. Stephen football team, has coached Richards for the entirety of his high school career.
“He’s taught me a lot about defense,” said Richards.
After 24 seasons coaching the Spartans, Grant says it’s always good to see his players stay in the sport, in any capacity.
“Wherever they are, they’re happy in the sport,” he said, while explaining his hopes for all the players throughout the years.
The best part for Richards? The opportunity the sport provides to meet people.
“I’ve made a lot of friends through football,” he said. Through the Saint John Wanderers, Spartans, and team N.B., Richards has made many friends. Though he’ll miss his Spartans teammates, he looks forward to meeting new people and playing with old teammates from team N.B. as his football journey continues with the Acadia Axemen.
Richards will join former Spartans teammate Austin Young who currently plays for Acadia.
“I’ve sent guys on all over… it’s always nice when they go the same places,” Grant said.
“My goal is to go far with it,” said Richards. Though he’s not shooting for the NFL, he’d like to continue playing somewhere, in some capacity, after university.
Over the years, Grant has welcomed some of his players back for coaching opportunities.
We might just see Richards coaching alongside Grant one day.
“I’m going to be coaching some of their kids soon,” he said, with a laugh.