TRINIDAD and Tobago netballer Shaquanda Greene-Noel begins life as a pro athlete when she charts off to Wales next week to join Cardiff-based team Celtic Dragons for the 2022 season.
The 25-year-old was awarded a one-year contract and will compete in the UK’s top-flight Vitality Netball Super League.
Greene-Noel plays goal defence and goal keep and has 25 country appearances for the Calypso Girls. She was part of the 2019 Netball World Cup team and also competed in the recent tri-series against the Jamaica men and women’s netball teams.
The defender is one of two national netballers who recently acquired pro contracts on the European circuit.
Before the tri-series earlier this month, fellow TT defender Jameela McCarthy was selected to join UK-based Saracens Mavericks while Greene-Noel was officially unveiled as a Dragons player on October 15.
Having secured her first pro contract, Greene-Noel was elated.
“When I first heard the news I was flabbergasted. I think every athlete’s goal is to represent their country and then play professionally by extension,” she said.
Greene-Noel confirmed that newly appointed Celtic Dragons coach Danielle Titmuss-Morris saw highlights of her competing at the 2019 World Cup and was impressed with the way she handled herself on the court.
“Along with my skills, what really sold her (Titmuss-Morris) was how positive I was on court. She loved how I celebrated my personal wins and how ecstatic I was when my teammates did something good as well,” she said.
Greene-Noel started playing netball at age seven. She attended Grande Riviere AC Primary School, Cumana SDA and then Toco Secondary.
The rising athlete obtained a scholarship from UTT and pursued a Bachelor’s in Education (Secondary) where she met her husband Le’Sean Noel.
She is now the principal of All Learners Online Academy, CEO of Hair on Q’ and a legal clerk at a trade union.
Greene-Noel also played for UTT and then Police Netball Youth Club in the All Sectors Netball League which is yet to resume since mid-March last year owing to the pandemic.
Looking ahead, she said, “Heading into the Super League, and because of the immense amount of sacrifices I’m making to achieve this goal, I have no choice but to work assiduously to cement my spot as a top defender and to improve my team’s ranking.
“I also intend to showcase, along with my compatriot Jameela McCarthy, that TT has a wealth of talent so that other players can be recruited as well.”
Since domestic competition came to a halt last year because of covid19, she decided to take a break from netball to focus on personal goals. Greene-Noel said this time away from the sport was a blessing in disguise since she needed that time to refocus and commit to other aspects of her life.
However, on the downside, she admitted that it was extremely difficult to return to the court after taking such a lengthy break.
“It required a high level of discipline to ensure I got my body ready to compete again.”
Looking back on the recent tri-series, in which the Calypso Girls lost 0-3 against the Sunshine Girls, Greene-Noel said she was a bit disappointed but still optimistic about what the future holds for the national team.
“We’re in the process of rebuilding. After only three months of training and returning to play at the international level after more than two years, this is the wake-up call the staff and the players needed.
“It’s a reminder of how much work the TT Netball Association and the technical staff have to do behind the scenes, and how disciplined we the players must be to grow again.
“The great thing is we set goals for ourselves personally and as a team and we were able to tick a few of these boxes (at the tri-series).
“I’m committed to working incessantly to taking netball to the top in TT. I’m enthusiastic and eager about the fact that the senior netball team will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future,” she closed.