Brothers Alex and Kai Fiechtner have been playing football together ever since they were young boys kicking a ball around their backyard.
Fast forward a few years and they are now teammates in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland for Brisbane City FC, one of two sets of brothers who play in the senior team at the club (Tristan and Preston Hugo also play in the NPL for Brisbane City).
A player pairing that began during childhood as siblings, Alex, 19, and Kai, 17, went on to play as teammates in high school at Nudgee College on Brisbane’s north side before focusing on club football at Brisbane City, where they were both juniors.
“We were competitive at lots of sports growing up, but mainly football,” Alex said when asked about their relationship growing up.
While some friendly competition was present throughout their teenage years, it usually came down to pushing each other to achieve their best rather than striving to be better than each other.
“We did push each other to be competitive with that competitive spirit that brothers always have, you want to be scoring more goals than them and things like that,” Kai said.
“But in the end it didn’t come down to being better than the other, it just came down to being the best we could be in our own positions.”
For Kai, who scored four goals in 11 games in the NPL Queensland Under 20s competition for City earlier this season, seeing his older brother progress through the ranks helped pave the way for his footballing career.
“With him being a few years older, I always saw him from a young age playing football, so my love of the game is definitely based on his,” Kai said.
“It was really good for me to see him progressing and having a basis of what I’d like to achieve, and to progress just like he did.
“With that brotherly competitive spirit, you always want to one up your brother, so his progress continues to drive me to keep playing at a better and higher level.”
In Round 21, the brothers helped Brisbane City to a comfortable victory against Sunshine Coast FC at Kawana Sports Precinct, scoring all four of the game’s goals between the two of them.
Alex recorded his first ever NPL Queensland hat-trick to take his season goal tally to nine, while younger brother Kai scored his maiden senior goal in his second start in the NPL.
Alex said having Kai join him in a senior NPL team took some getting used to, especially as Alex is already one of the younger players in the side, but said the call up is credit to his brother’s progress as a player.
“I think in the most recent years he’s definitely improved a lot more than I had at that age, and it’s good to see,” Alex said.
On the weekend, Kai scored his third goal in four games as City drew 1-1 with crosstown rivals Brisbane Strikers.
City coach John Kosmina called the younger Fiechtner a clever player in his post-match interview.
“He’s smart,” Kosmina said.
“He gets caught with the intensity at times but he’s only learning, he’s only just 17. He does well, he gets into good areas and makes smart runs in the box.”
City face Olympic FC this Sunday, 5 August at Goodwin Park in Round 23 of the NPL Queensland.
Words: Elizabeth Lepre
Supplied images: Chris Simpson, Simon Smale.