News / USA

Haitians Thrive on Top US College Soccer Team

Parke Brewer
The top-ranked U.S. men's collegiate soccer team, the University of Maryland, has two Haitian players on its roster who have been making an impact.

The University of Maryland men's soccer team equaled the best start in the program's history, winning 14 of 15 games with one draw.  And it has clinched its conference regular season championship

The team has six foreign-born players on its roster, two of whom are from Haiti.  One of them, freshman Christiano Francois, was practicing for his high school soccer team on the other side of the bay from Port-au-Prince when the devastating earthquake struck the capital in January 12, 2010.

Francois said a number of his friends died in the tragedy and others lost limbs, so he feels fortunate.  All of his family members and their house survived.

Francois came to the United States to finish high school, and was the star forward for his New Jersey team, St. Benedict's Prep, which was also top ranked.

"Since I've been here in the United States, my high school, we were number-one in the nation, and then I came here and we're still number one in the nation, and that's a good thing for me," said Francois.  "I really appreciate that, yeah."

While he plays hard, Francois is also focused on his studies.

"That was my dream, to come to America to get an education, because here they have better education [system] than [in] Haiti," added Francois.  "I just was really happy to come here to get [an] education and play soccer, to get better every day."

It was his fellow-Haitian Widner Saint Cyr, now in his third soccer season at the University of Maryland, who influenced Francois's decision on where to study and play.  Like Francois, Saint Cyr says he is happy with his home away from home.

"It's been a great experience, you know, knowing that back home it's not easy, I mean," said Cyr.  "So I'm enjoying it so far, learning from it, and growing from it and everything like that."

Their soccer coach at Maryland, Sasho Cirovski, now in his 20th season at the university, is glad they decided to play for him.

"They're just really special people," noted Cirovski.  "And not only do they bring a great amount of soccer talent, but they bring in the locker room, with their experience, a sense of gratitude and humility.  They're just so grateful for the opportunity and really grab every ounce of energy."

Coach Cirovski was born in Yugoslavia, raised in Canada and played collegiate soccer in the United States.

"U.S. universities are global institutions and soccer is a global game, so it just makes sense that we're looking for players overseas and the players overseas are looking at us," noted Cirovski.  "Soccer is an international language, and even though some of our players are just learning the English language, they fit in perfectly."

Francois is in a program designed for students for whom English is their second language.  He and Saint Cyr both say that they eventually hope to play together on the senior national Haitian soccer team.  For now, they hope they can help the University of Maryland team win this season's U.S. national collegiate title.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs