Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sportmanship at its greatest level...

The match was held on March 10, 2010 at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium, Alajuela, Costa Rica . It was the women under 17 CONCACAF Qualifying soccer match between USA and Haiti.

The match ended 9-0, USA won of course.

But at the end of the match, the situation became very emotional.

We know, 2 months before the match, Haiti was shocked by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake on 12 January 2010, killing approximately 230,000 people and injuring 300,000 and causing 1 million Haitians to be homeless.

The earthquake also made millions more Haitians who survived to suffer for a long period of times despite gargantuan efforts by the world including the USA, United Nations and the Red Cross to help Haiti recover.

While the USA scored several artistic goals at the end of the match, the most amazing moment from the game came after the final whistle as Haitian goalkeeper Alexandra Coby slumped to the turf in tears.

Her coach helped her to her feet, and while still sobbing, she saw U.S. goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin walking toward her. Coby embraced Heaberlin in a tight hug and held on. What followed was a rare sight in sports and an emotional and memorable moment for the young Americans players.

All the U.S. players surrounded Coby and Heaberlin in a huge group hug that lasted at least 90 seconds. When it broke up, the entire U.S. team left the field in tears.

“I saw her crying and that was pretty hard for me to see,” said Heaberlin. “She’s a ‘keeper and we have that bond. I knew that she had probably lost people close to her, and when she goes home she might not have anywhere to go. I gave her a big hug and told her she did great. She came to compete in this tournament despite all that she’s been through and I have tremendous respect for her.”

“It just put everything into perspective,” said U.S. defender Olivia Brannon, who played the 90 minutes at right back. “It makes you realize what is truly important, your family, having a roof over your head, and having food on the table. We take all those things for granted. I had my mom in the stands cheering for me tonight. Some of these girls might never have that again.”

Haiti’s participation in the tournament despite the tragic earthquake has been an inspiration to all the teams in the competition.

God bless the world...

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