Wednesday, April 28, 2010

VIDEO:Haitian National Soccer Team Journeys to Central Texas

By Mike Berman

Haiti VS Aztex FC

[flv: 480 360]
The men of the Haitian National Soccer team were in Haiti at 4:53 p.m. on Jan. 12 when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc on their country. They witnessed their lives literally crumble before their eyes.

"Imagine you are in your house, and you've got your family with you, and you want to go out, [but] you left your family inside your house," midfielder Peter Germain said. "After five, 10 seconds - you have no family. I don't think there's one Haitian that's going to forget this day."

That holds especially true with the country's beloved national soccer team.

Among an estimated 250,000 people who died in the catastrophic earthquake, 32 were members of the organization.

In a matter of seconds, a tight-knit soccer family was torn apart.

"It was a very hard moment. There were people from my team who died. After two days I went to see it, and it was very sad," left back Gilles Frantz said.

Two-and-a-half months later, for the first time since its country violently shook, the Haitian National Soccer team is back. They’re consistently doing what they love - playing on the pitch.

And thanks to the nonprofit group San Antonio Sports, they're doing it in Central Texas.

"It's been a beautiful experience for them. They appreciate all the help they’ve been receiving," head coach Jairo Rios said.

In total, the team will spend 17 days in Central Texas. They’ll be getting everything from new equipment to shopping sprees at the mall to all the gourmet food they can eat. For all of them, it’s a welcome escape from the ruins of Haiti.

Still, during down times, their minds tend to wander back home.

"We're here physically. We're playing; we're eating, but our spirit is over there. Our thoughts are over there," Frantz said.

In the end, they play soccer not just because they love the game, but because they believe it's their duty, as a soccer team of 24, to lift the spirits of a broken nation.

"The only sport or entity that is showing the world that Haiti is alive is soccer. Through soccer, there's a lot of people helping the country," Rios said.

Haitian National Soccer Team scrimmage against the Austin Aztex, Admission is FREE
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
House Park, 1301 Shoal Creek Blvd
Austin, TX 78701


Please donate to help offset the costs of hosting the Haitian National Soccer Team. Any funds raised above and beyond the team’s expenses will be donated to them.

Source: News8Austin

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