Fields | A new place to play in Little Haiti

But, through the resizing and seemingly never-ending negotiations, the soccer field has remained a centerpiece.

“Just as in the United States you have football, we in Haiti have soccer,” says Mapou. “Everywhere, in every street, there are people playing soccer. It is our national game.”

Updates

  • A side visiting from Haiti will inaugurate the new soccer park at 1 p.m. on May 3, when it will be christened Manno Sanon Park, according to Marleine Bastien, a community leader and executive director of Haitian Women of Miami. The adjoining community center likely will bear the name of former city commissioner Teele, integral to pushing for the facility before his suicide in 2005 (Michael Vasquez, “Teele’s Name Likely to Grace Center,” Miami Herald, Apr 25). He “always identified himself with with the people on the bottom,” said City Commissioner Angel Gonzalez at a meeting on Apr 24. The park opening corresponds with the city’s Haitian Roots Parade and Festival, part of Haitian Heritage Month.
  • Sanon, known as “Manno,” died from pancreatic cancer Feb 21 in Orlando. He was 56. His goals at the 1974 World Cup—including one past Italian legend Dino Zoff, momentarily to give Haiti a 1–0 lead in the 46th minute—lent pride to expatriate Haitians. “When Manno scored that goal, there was an eruption of joy,” Herntz Phanord, who watched the game at a New York cinema, told the Miami Herald. Sanon’s strike ended Zoff’s record run of 1,143 minutes without conceding. Sanon also scored against Argentina in Haiti’s final group-stage match.

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1 comment on this post.
  1. georges "tiJoe" edeline:

    Marvellous! I am so excited to read such wonderful news, not only for the sport of soccer itself, but also for Haitians. The last five decades have certainly not been what one would call nice to Haiti or its people. No need to specify all the atrocities, killings, political purges, disappearances, brain drain, exiles, refugees, boat people, dictators, Marines, Coast Guard, etc.

    This is definitely a piece of good news, rare as it may be! No doubt that this luxurious complex will be appreciated and used by all. Thank you for all the effort put into making such a dream become reality.

    My most recent sports mission in Haiti, December of 2007, I worked with 40 coaches from all over the island, using the national Coast Guard soccer field, in Bizoton. Perhaps, one day, such complexes will be available in parts of Haiti, itself, along with equipment for the Haitians to use and play safely.

    I have dozens of new shoes piled up in my carport, waiting to be donated to the people of Big or Little Haiti. Perhaps, I’ll take a day or two off and come down, with some of those shoes, and give them away during the inauguration of this God-sent “new place to play in Little Haiti.” Merci!

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