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Trinity Hosts Haiti in Competitive Soccer Scrimmage on Campus

By Dustin Coleman

April 2010 – At the end of the soccer match, the scoreboard read Trinity 0, Haiti 2. But for the crowd of more than 2,800 spectators that crammed around the University’s soccer field on Monday, April 19, there was something much more significant happening than any score could describe.

The National Team of Haiti, currently in the United States training for a match with Argentina on May 5, played its first game as a squad since the Jan. 12 earthquake that pulverized its country, killing an estimated 230,000.

For Haiti, the match was an opportunity to regain chemistry as it sets off on its mission to become a beacon of light for a country still in the midst of devastation. The moment wasn’t lost on the Trinity players, either, who had the chance to test themselves against an experienced team and lend a helping hand simultaneously.

“There have been some definite themes that we have witnessed since the Haitian team’s arrival – their gratitude and their humility and their love of a foreign country embracing them so much. I think these are the three themes that have impacted our kids the most,” said Trinity coach Paul McGinlay, on what he hopes his team took away from the game. “They were talented athletes, but they so much appreciated our opportunity to host them.”

Tied 0-0 at the half, a scrappy Trinity team performed competitively throughout the game, finally giving up two goals in the final 45 minutes against players that play not only for Haiti, but also for professional teams around the world.

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“Before the game, we got together, all of the starters, and we said we wouldn’t do them justice if we didn’t give them a game,” said Trinity sophomore midfielder Zack Garcia. “So I told all of the guys that we just need to give a big effort. They are going to be bigger, faster, and stronger. But as long as we give them a big effort and just give them a game, that is all we can ask for.”

As time expired, the crowd – made up of students, alumni, community members, youth soccer league teams, and soccer fanatics – rushed the field, many in attendance scoring autographs from the Haitian team, who graciously signed T-shirts and soccer balls.

San Antonio Sports, the co-organizer of the event along with Trinity, collected donations throughout the match. The Trinity women’s soccer team sold “I Love Haiti” T-shirts, which could be seen in abundance throughout the crowd. All the money collected helped pay for the Haitian team’s travel costs and other expenses. After the game, both teams dined together on the Trinity campus, speaking to each other through translators.

“Tonight just shows what a big heart the Trinity soccer program has and the entire University and community that supports us,” said Trinity president Dennis A. Ahlburg. “This is such a traumatic time for Haiti, and to see so many people come out and support them just lifts the spirit of everyone who is involved in this program.”

Next, the Haitian team will travel to play FC Dallas on Friday, April 23, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.


© 2010 Trinity University

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