Soccer player Quintyn Walcott made the transition to Ontario Tech University from Barbados three years ago.
Born in Bridgetown, Walcott says he played soccer as a “hobby” but concedes he played at a high level while in high school.
After some friends in Mississauga alerted him about university soccer in Ontario, he reached out to Ontario Tech University head coach Peyvand Mossavat.
Walcott sent the coach video highlights from his team in Barbados. Mossavat invited Walcott to come to Oshawa in August, 2016. He came out to a couple practices and made the team.
Walcott says he grew up in a soccer-oriented family and started playing at the age of four.
When he was in high school, Walcott developed a plan to come to Canada.
“I always wanted to try something new compared to Barbados,” says Walcott.
In addition to getting an education, playing soccer was also part of his plan.
Canada also has more specialized school programs than Barbados, says Walcott, adding he is in Networking and Information Technology Security at Ontario Tech.
His mom told him that the world is evolving around technology and he should take a program around that.
“My mom made that decision for me to be in the program,” says Walcott.
Soccer in Canada is a bit different compared to his hometown, he says.
“Here in Canada it’s a bit more competitive – we train 4-5 times a week and it’s more demanding,” says Walcott.
Canadian soccer tactics and techniques are different from what he is used to in Barbados.
Balancing soccer and school is a challenge, but he has a really good support system to help him, says Walcott.
“Make sure your schoolwork is done before soccer practice and games,” says Walcott, about his approach to his education.
He says the process of living on his own was challenging but he managed to get through it.
“It’s a bit difficult at first and not having no home cooked meals but after the first year I got the hang of it,” says Walcott.
He says the cold and snow of Canadian winters was an eye-opening experience.
“Oh, let’s not talk about winter. It was very hard having to walk to class in the cold,” he says.
Ontario Tech soccer is getting better, Walcott says.
The Ridgebacks finished with a 7-2-5 record this year, a marked improvement from 2018’s record of 5-11-0. The Ridgebacks lost in the quarter-finals to first place Carleton.
“This season I think we had a fantastic year,” says Walcott.
The Ridgebacks scored the second most goals in the league with 35, up from 13 in the previous season.
He says he is looking forward to next year, when all but two players are eligible to return to the team.
“From here we can really grow, we have the right mindset and we know we can challenge the big teams,” says Walcott.