From Academy player to Scholar to Academy Head of Sports Science and Medicine, Kieran Walker has been on quite a journey with the Imps.
Kieran first joined Lincoln City at just 11 years old, progressing through the Academy before eventually earning a scholarship with the club. Whilst Kieran was a Scholar, he began to look at various options within the sporting industry for a future career.
“I was at the club from Under 11’s to Under 18’s including two years training and playing full time as a Scholar. I realised I wasn’t going to be offered a professional contract around December in my second year so I had to start thinking about other options, whether that be Exit Trials or University.”
“I decided I wanted to go to University but wasn’t entirely sure which course to choose. I had physiotherapy, sports science and coaching in mind. I spoke to lecturers at the University of Lincoln about the different pathways before realising Sport Science and Medicine was the route I wanted to explore. I had a really good three years studying Sports Science, and then also completing my Masters in Physiotherapy after I had graduated.”
During his degree, Kieran contacted the club for work experience. He acknowledged that the opportunities he gained from this alongside his studies were a pivotal part of his development.
“I got in touch with the club during my second year of University and wanted to gain some experience alongside my studies. As a result, I met with Mike Hine, Luke Jelly and the management team, who at the time were really interested in Sports Science. I worked as an assistant Sports Scientist for two years and learnt so much from Mike and Luke, giving me some unbelievable opportunities along the way.”
Whilst finishing his masters, Kieran was approached by Head of Football Jez George regarding a potential opportunity to re-join the Academy as Head of Sports Science and Medicine.
“I finished my master’s degree in October and during this period, Jez (George, Head of Football) met me, discussed the opportunity and offered me the role, which I was delighted to accept. It felt like the perfect fit as I had learnt so much from Mike and Luke, as well as Ross Poynton, it was now a case of going into a new role and making my own decisions.”
Following his two years as an assistant Sports Scientist, Head of Football Jez George said the opportunity for Kieran to take on a senior role within the Academy was the perfect chance for him to continue his development.
“Kieran is an extremely talented and intelligent young man, with a fantastic career ahead of him in professional football. Giving him this opportunity, even at such a young age, was a no-brainer. Whilst he will develop in such a senior role, the Academy will benefit hugely from the experiences of his own football journey as an Academy player and Scholar, as well as his professional expertise. I was impressed by him from the moment I joined the Club, especially with the way he conducted himself around senior pros as a young intern. He loves football, he loves Lincoln City and he loves winning; everything that we want to ensure is true of every Academy player and Scholar. He also epitomises what the Club and our Academy is all about in creating a variety of pathways for talented local young people, not just as professional footballers, and developing our own senior staff.”
Kieran also highlighted the importance of education, and how the incredible opportunities the Club provide our Scholars can give them a bright future both on and off the field.
“When I talk to the scholars, I’ll often speak to them about the incredible education provision the Academy has to offer, such as the links with Lincoln Minster School and Riseholme College. We also now have Emma Metheringham in post as Head of Education to provide further support and really push the Scholars to become more rounded individuals with a wide range of future opportunities.”
And Kieran is certainly a fine example to every one of our young players.