Athlete goes from Ontario Tech badminton team in Oshawa to Guyana national soccer squad

Published April 6, 2023 at 11:03 am

Photo courtesy Ontario Tech

A member of Ontario Tech’s badminton team got a taste of the national team life with his native Guyana earlier this year, but not in the sport of racquets and shuttlecocks.

Joshua Naraine, a goalkeeper who was on the Ridgebacks soccer team roster in 2021 and appeared in one game as a freshman, found himself on the Guyana national team squad for a game against Bermuda March 24 in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Naraine switched to varsity badminton at Ontario Tech this year while maintaining an active role on the pitch with Pickering FC in League 1, where he played in seven games last season.

His efforts earned him a call-up with the Guyanese national team and he was on the squad when Guyana topped Bermuda in in the fifth match of the Nations ‘B’ League tournament.

Naraine, a former member of Guyana’s U20 squad, was approached with the senior national team opportunity during his reading week.

“I got a message from the senior national team coach, asking me to come to Guyana for a week to come on trial,” he said. “So during my reading week, I went to Guyana and trained mostly every day, and got to see some of the villages there and family.”

Naraine is excited about the opportunity, but he understands what it will take to compete on the international level. “My expectations coming into this team is to train hard and train well with the team,” he said. “One thing is that coming into a senior national team, you’re playing with top-tier guys, guys that have been in this team for years. There’s no room for error here.”

Naraine said his experience playing with Pickering FC helped him prepare for national team duty.

“After playing with Pickering League1, once hearing that I had been called up, I trained a lot with my goalkeeper coach,” he said. “He was thrilled and proud that I had made the team and pushed me to my limits to ensure that I would be ready for this big accomplishment. I also was doing team training with Pickering just to get a lot of touches in and knowing my surroundings on the field.”

Through this process, Naraine has learned a very important life lesson.

“For anyone playing sports, always keep grinding and working hard towards your goal even when times you just want to quit or stop playing, your time will come,” he said. “Set goals for yourself, and never drop the level you are trying to accomplish.”

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