“It’s pretty fun and very emotional. It feels great to contribute to both teams. The balls are really different, but the technique is pretty similar. You have to hit it right and it will fly.”
On the pitch
Growing up, soccer was a way of life around the Kearney household. Harley’s father Bill played soccer first in high school in Maryland then in college at Frostburg State. After the family moved to Pelham, older brother Zach then starred for the Pythons.
“It was all about soccer my whole life,” said Harley. “My dad was a goalie, but he always wanted me to be a scorer. I spent hours and hours shooting on him in the backyard, mostly (penalty kick) challenges. He used to win most of the time, but as he gets older I’m getting the better of him. But he always says he let me win.
“I was pretty good growing up. But when you are young it’s just about being fast. As you get older you have to start developing skills.”
Kearney broke onto the Pelham varsity team as a freshman, scoring two goals that season and 10 goals a year later playing midfield.
But it was last season when he truly made his mark. The junior forward tallied a school-record 22 goals, helping the Pythons go from three wins in 2011 to nine last year.
“It’s pretty amazing to have the school record,” said Kearney. “It’s all about speed, agility and having some good guys that can put the ball on your foot. A goal is like scoring a touchdown.”
On the gridiron
But even as he was setting a new standard at the school, a new challenge was peaking his interest.
During his junior year, Kearney began to explore the possibility of kicking for the football team.