Please tell us about yourself

Raghav Khuarna. Chances are you have not heard this name when it comes to Indian football. Did you know however that he is waiting for his International Transfer to come through so that this Indian can play with the Serbian Eagles in the Canadian Soccer League? This youngster has moved to Toronto where he is keeping his passion for soccer alive as he pursues his studies at the University of Toronto.

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Harmit: Please tell us about your family, siblings and childhood? How did you manage to avoid the cricket bug as it is so overpowering in India and suffocates all other sports, and develop a passion for an offbeat, unconventional and unique game such as football?

 Raghav Khuarna: Mine is a small family. I have an elder sister who is doing her masters in political science from Delhi university. My father is self employed and he has his own consultancy company. Though my mother is basically a home maker, she also lends a helping hand to my father in his business.

I was born in Kolkata and spent 11 years of my life there basically playing cricket. It is surprising that although Kolkata is a hub of football, it was cricket that initially attracted me. When I shifted to Delhi and got into The Shri Ram School-Aravali, I developed an interest in football as it was the main sport there.

Harmit: How young were you and where and when did you start to train seriously under some kind of professional guidance?

Raghav Khuarna: I was 11years old and in class 5 when I joined the IYSA (Indian Youth Soccer Association) run by Shri Ram School. It was during one of the practice games when I was spotted my Mr. Bill Adams and asked to join the super soccer league. I was regularly coached by Mr. Bill Adams and his team of coaches. This was a turning point in my life. I began to perform well and always ended up being the highest goal scorer in the league.

Harmit: What kind of talent hunts have you participated in and how do you rate yourself against Indian players in the same age group?

Raghav Khuarna: Though I have not participated in any Talents Hunts, I was selected by DDA and asked to join the DDA football academy. I have been regularly playing a practicing for them. I was also a part of the Haryana under 16 and The Delhi under 19 team which came third at the National games. It was when playing for Delhi that I got a call to be a part of the India under 19 camp. I attended 8 months of the National camp under Mr. Colm Toal. Unfortunately I suffered an ankle ligament tear and could not accompany my team at the AFC championship.

Before coming to Toronto I represented Haryana in the Santosh Trophy.

I rate myself at par with the other strikers in my age group. My coaches have always praised my ability and nicknamed me as “Warrior” because I never give up.

I also managed a 93% in my ISC board exams in spite of being away for 8 months. This high percentage also helped me get into the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.

Harmit: Have you had a chance to participate in any practice sessions with the Serbian Eagles? How do you rate your chances in terms of fitting in and contributing to the team?

Raghav Khuarna: My transfer to the club has been done and I have been attending all their practice sessions. I have had no problems in competing with the players in terms of fitness and agility. I am still being assessed by my coaches and hopefully I will be able to make it to their main team.

Harmit: Have you seen any I League games on TV or live? Would you be interested in playing for a club in India?

Raghav Khuarna: I have only seen the I –league games on TV. If given the opportunity I would love to play for a club in India.

Harmit: What program are you pursuing at University of Toronto and when will it finish? Will you be looking to play football professionally after you graduate or will you be looking for a non-playing career?

Raghav Khuarna: I am pursuing the Commerce Program at the University Of Toronto and it will finish after 4 years. My ambition is to become a professional football player and I will play football professionally if given a chance and not wait until I graduate.

Harmit: Who are you favorite footballers and club teams both overseas and Indian?

Raghav Khuarna: My favorite Indian footballer in Sunil Chhetri. I don’t have a favorite Indian club. My favorite overseas player is Wayne Rooney and my favorite team is Manchester United.

Harmit: What position do you normally play in and what are your football related goals?

Raghav Khuarna: I am a front player (forward) I can play both on the right side as well as the left as I’m good on both my feet. My aim is to make it to the MLS after playing for the Canadian Soccer League and hopefully after that make it to Europe.

Harmit: Best wishes for the future and many thanks for taking the time to speak to us.