- Justin Grimm
Mongolians Abroad: Young Player Leaves Mark in Austria
It is rare for a young Mongolian footballer to spend a single season abroad, particularly in Europe. But young Mongolian expat Khuslen Narangerel already has almost 15 years of experience with several clubs in Austria by the age of 19.
Mongolian Football Central reached out to the player to learn more of his intriguing story.
Narangerel was born in Ulaanbaatar on 24 July 2000. By 2002 his family had made the difficult decision to move to Europe in hopes of a brighter future for themselves and their infant son.
By 2005 he had begun his footballing career with the youth teams of SV Haie Hoheneich. He would remain with the club for a decade and collected many honours and distinctions along the way, including being the top goal scorer in the under-9 division; playing an undefeated championship season in 2015; and being one of the youngest players in the youth Landesliga at the time. Perhaps these accomplishments were the reason for Italian source PaneeCalcio naming him Mongolia's top youth prospect under age 20 in 2017.
After leaving the Lower Austrian club, Narangerel, who plays as a winger or central midfielder, joined nearby club SC Gmünd who currently play in the Gebietsliga, one of Austria's 6th divisions. Despite playing for the youth and reserve sides, he does occasionally feature for the First Team. In total, he has made almost 100 appearances for the club in league and cup play since joining in 2016.
Despite his plethora of experience, Narangerel has never been invited to a Mongolian national team at any level. He himself feels that football is only a hobby as he prepares to enter the technical university in the Austrian capital Vienna later this year. However, he would love to play a few matches in Mongolia for the experience and to compare the Austrian and Mongolian leagues.
When asked if he feels Mongolian or Austrian, Narangerel clearly respects and admires his homeland while embracing his current home. It is unlikely that the family (his mother, father, and 14-year-old brother) will return to Mongolia after applying for Austrian citizenship last year. Regardless of whether his future ultimately lay in football or university studies, in Austria, Mongolia, or somewhere else, Khuslen Narangerel is sure to be a success.