CFC100 WR and cousin commit to Waterloo

Warriors welcome two local recruits to their 2017 class.

When it comes down to it, family is one of the most important elements both in and out of the locker room. But, you don’t have to tell wide receivers Barnaba Niel and #CFC100 Gordon Lam from Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada. The cousins will be continuing their journey together after signing with the Waterloo Warriors.

Baranaba Niel

Courtesy of Barnaba Niel.

Courtesy of Barnaba Niel.

When Barnaba Niel was choosing universities, he specific criteria that they had to meet. The young, 6’5, 210lbs athlete, who hails from Kitchener, Ontario, wanted to stay local and acquire a presentable degree for his post-football years. “This immediately narrowed down my decision between Waterloo and Laurier. The University of Waterloo won between the two not because Laurier did anything wrong but simply due to family,” he said.

“Family is something I’ve grown up to value more than anything and with my older cousin and football role model Lam Diing at Waterloo, Gordon (Lam) and I took it upon ourselves to join him in turning program around,” Niel added.

Barnaba Niel (#0) and his cousin, Gordon Lam (#1) celebrate. Courtesy of Barnaba Niel.

Barnaba Niel (#0) and his cousin, Gordon Lam (#1) celebrate. Courtesy of Barnaba Niel.

Within Niel’s high school career, he has spent time playing with the St. Marys Eagles (Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association) and the RICC Knights, a St. Catharines-based prep school that plays against American high schools. While he was originally supposed to join the Warriors in 2016, he chose to take a grade 13 year at the last minute.

“I decided to take a post-grad year to further develop myself, my body and my game for the 2017 CIS Season. During my stay out there (at RICC), I remained in contact with Coach Adams and Head Coach Bertoia not only addressing football but building a genuine relationship,” he said.

“From then on I knew Waterloo was home and couldn’t wait to be apart of it. Having coaches believe in me as much as me believe in them is what made this the best decision. Since the beginning of my recruitment the coaches at Waterloo have showed nothing but love and patience and I appreciate them for that,” Niel added.

When he attends Waterloo, Niel said he is interested in taking an Honours Arts and Business Co-op. “This allows me be flexible in studying the broad subjects of the Arts along with grasping business knowledge in the real world of co-op,” he said.

“With that type of experience and a Waterloo degree, life after football will have a lot in store,” the former Twin City Predators (Ontario Varsity Football League) added. In 2016, he joined the Cambridge Lions (OVFL) and won an OVFL championship.

#CFC100 Gordon Lam

Courtesy of Gordon Lam.

Courtesy of Gordon Lam.

Fellow wide receiver Gordon Lam, who also doubles as a defensive back, has also been on the same teams as Niel throughout his football journey. The two will reunite with their cousin, Lam Diigng, who is #11 for the Warriors.

“The reason I committed to Waterloo is because I have a lot of family here and I believe family should stick together more. Family means a lot to me and that’s what I make my decision off of,” Lam said.

Gordon Lam makes a diving catch in the end zone. Courtesy of Gordon Lam.

Gordon Lam makes a diving catch in the end zone. Courtesy of Gordon Lam.

Along with family, Lam is also impressed with the team’s coaches. “I like the coaching staff. I got to play for Coach Bertoia with Team Ontario at the Canada Cup. I got to see his coaching style and attitude, he has a winning attitude just like me also,” the two time-Team Ontario game MVP said.

Lam, who is interested in taking recreation and business, won an OVFL championship with his cousin as a member of the Cambridge Lions in 2016.

Niel has a message for the U Sports league about the arrival of him and his cousin: “I hope you all are ready.”

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