A teen from Elmworth has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play an exhibition game before the 106th Grey Cup. Kaleb McGladdery is one of 70 football players from across the country picked to take part in the Nissan Kickoff Project.
Kaleb is a grade 12 student at Beaverlodge Regional High School and plays for the Peace Wapiti Academy Titans. He says he’s grateful his mother nominated him for the contest, which judges youth by their values of toughness, innovation, tenacity, ambition and notability on and off the field.
“She’s been my biggest supporter through the seven to eight years I’ve been playing and really, I couldn’t have done any of this without her.”
Playing football and being active is important to Kaleb, as he lost his grandfather to obesity. He says he promised him he wouldn’t follow in his footsteps.
“We finally found something I could do in football. I started playing for Wembley; every Tuesday and Thursday I drove half an hour away from my house to go play for this little team called the Bulldogs, and honestly, if I hadn’t done that, I don’t think I would be here today.”
As part of the Nissan All-Canadian TITAN team, Kaleb will be practicing and playing in an exhibition game at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton Saturday, the day before the Ottawa Redblacks and the Calgary Stampeders decide the 2018 CFL championship next door at Clarke Stadium. He and his teammates also have tickets to the big game.
“It’s really a dream,” Kaleb says. “The chance for me to actually be on the field being used for the Grey Cup, it’s a huge honour.”
Once back home, Kaleb still isn’t sure where football will take him. While he’s interested in continuing to play in post-secondary, he says he won’t pick a school solely based on its football program.