On January 8, 2016, Haiti’s national soccer team faced Brazil in Group B of the prestigious Copa America 2016 tournament. With the “Grenadiers” peak international performance occurring in the country’s lone World Cup appearance in 1974, when the team managed to score a goal in a 3-1 loss against Italy, the likelihood that the team will advance beyond the group stage is low. However, the fact that the Haitian team continues to fight despite significant obstacles cultivates hope in a struggling, but culturally vibrant nation. Haiti is still recuperating from a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010 that resulted in between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. The earthquake left the Haiti Football Federation headquarters in shambles and killed 28 of 30 federation members. As the President of Haiti Football, Dr. Yves Jean-Bart, explained in the Seattle Times, while no top players were killed, “‘a lot of young players are orphans” while the “‘sport of soccer itself has provided a beacon of hope and a much-needed distraction.’”
For more information, read the full Seattle Times article here.