Legacy is defined as “something that exists as a result of something that happened in the past.” Some view this as a marker for personal success that can survive once they’re gone; others see it as a way to make the world a better for future generations. During an illustrious football career, it would have been easy to assume that Keon Raymond’s legacy would be defined by the success he experienced on the football field. This was, however, until the founding of K25 Sports, a youth sports organization that builds character, self-confidence, and sportsmanship in tomorrow’s leaders.
Following ten years in the Canadian Football League, Keon Raymond and his wife Bianca decided to remain in Calgary, Alberta with their four children, as the city had become home. They had been heavily involved in non-profit organizations within the city, and the idea of giving back and contributing to the community had become synonymous with the Raymond family. These beliefs lead to the creation of K25 Sports.
The organization, naturally, began with a focus on football. The sport ran through the veins of the Raymond family; however, the game is not without challenges and concerns for both players and their loved ones. The risk of injury is great, as it is a high-contact sport. This motivated the Raymond’s to create programs within K25 that focused on non-contact, development-based training, which is achieved through flag and touch football games. This allows players to work on improving their skills in the off season while limiting the amount of contact a player experiences on a regular basis. The focus was on creating a generation of players that had developed and improved but had also maintained their wellbeing. With children of his own, creating a safer environment within the sport was always a top priority.
Now in its third year, K25 is constantly expanding. In addition to running a flag football program for young players, Keon has also developed the Big Time Players program, which provides older, advanced athletes with the opportunity to showcase their skills on an international stage. The BTP program has grown each year, and now includes an Elite Travel Squad, as well as a summer development programs, and various tournaments to continually increase skills and competitiveness. The Travel Squad competes in tournaments throughout the United States, with more stops being added each year. These tournaments allow athletes to compete at the highest level with the best players in their sport, providing tremendous opportunities for exposure and development that would not be possible to achieve within Canada alone. The summer tournaments are all hosted in Alberta and provide athletes of any skill level, age, and experience to come out and compete. The goal is always to help athletes become good people first, and strong athletes second.
It would have been easy for Keon Raymond to be satisfied with a legacy of football statistics and records. However, through the development of K25, Raymond has created a platform for the next generation of athletes to develop their skills, become better athletes, and most importantly, become better people in a safe, non-contact environment. This decision has allowed for K25 to be a leader within the community in Calgary, and the football community within North America as a whole. In addition to his time playing professionally, the work that Keon Raymond has done to ensure that all players remain safe, while being placed in an environment where they can thrive, will define his legacy within the game of football.