Wed, Oct


What if Louisville City FC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin doesn’t get sent off against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on April 22?

What if backup goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh doesn’t come in and record a shutout the next game against Bethlehem Steel FC?

What if Ranjitsingh doesn’t give up a goal in the USL in May, recording five consecutive shutouts, effectively making the starting position his own?

What if?

“I felt like I was always ready to play, you know?” Ranjitsingh said on Monday while with the Trinidad & Tobago National Team at EverBank Stadium. “It was just between me and Scott [Goodwin], and he started the inaugural season for Louisville City and he got the starting nod at the beginning of this season, but for me, I always felt I was ready for the start and I was capable, and when the opportunity presented I just took it and ran with it.”

What if Trinidad & Tobago Coach Stephen Hart hadn’t previously led Canada’s National Team?

What if he’d not been aware of the kid with the Trinidadian parents growing up in Brampton, Ontario?

What if he’d not sent scouts out to watch Ranjitsingh in depth after T&T starter Jan-Michael Williams suffered a rotator cuff injury in March?

What if?

“I just thought bring him in, see how he fits in with everybody, see how he does, and he can fight like everyone else for a place,” said Hart on Monday. “He’s been very good. He fits in nicely, and he seems to just roll in. He’s trained well. I’m impressed with how he’s done, and so has our goalkeeping coach.”

It’s sometimes surprising how a chain of events can unfold. Ranjitsingh had made only one appearance for Louisville in his rookie season, and was thrust into duty thanks to Goodwin’s red card and subsequent suspension in a 2-2 draw with Pittsburgh.

The ensuing chain of events has left the native of a Trinidad & Tobago household in Brampton, Ontario on the verge of a first international appearance at any level on Tuesday night against the United States in World Cup Qualifying.

That in turn says something about the perseverance Ranjitsingh has shown to make it this far. One of the last signings to Louisville’s squad last season after playing collegiately at Mercer, the 23-year-old has become one of the top performers between the sticks in the league with a 0.86 goals-against average and .721 save percentage.

After receiving the call to notify him of his selection to the Soca Warriors, word quickly spread throughout the family, most importantly to his father, who had remained true to his heritage after immigrating to Canada when he was 18 years old.

“I know my dad’s extra excited just because I get to represent the country he was born in,” Ranjitsingh said. “Growing up he really instilled the Trinidadian culture in the household. When I’d wake up in the morning it would be soca or reggae music, and the food that we eat would be some Trini food like roti or curried chicken, stuff like that.

“I was surrounded by Trini accents.”

The same could be said of Friday night, when Ranjitsingh took in the atmosphere at Hazley Crawford Stadium as Trinidad & Tobago clinched a place in final stage of World Cup Qualifying - The Hex.

“Although I wasn’t on the field I felt like the whole country was behind us, the atmosphere was great,” Ranjitsingh said. “This is such a big interest in Trinidad, we have the full support of the whole country behind us when we’re playing.”

So, what if Tuesday brings that first appearance on the international stage?

“I mean, it would be one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve ever had in my entire life,” said Ranjitsingh. “It’s just something I’ve been working toward my whole life, playing at the highest level. The first step was getting the call to camp, and then I’m trying just get my first cap. I’m working hard like the rest of these guys, and if coach calls on me, whenever the opportunity happens, I’ll be ready.”

What if?