GOALS 2nd annual spring soccer tournament, Vin Jwe! (Come and Play), was a huge success! First, congratulations to the winning teams: Fondation L'Athletique D'Haiti’s boys’ and girls’ teams, from Citè Soleil, edged out the competition to take home the championship cup. CNN Hero Patrice Millet’s FONDAPS team took home the second place trophy and the Citadelle Football Club from downtown Port-au-Prince placed second in the girls division. The GOALS girls' and boys' teams both demonstrated their hard work and talent and made it to the semi-finals. The players, local community, and supporting partners at the tournament all had a great weekend.
Over 250 players ages 13 -18 from around Haiti participated in the tournament. We were lucky to be joined by two fantastic organizational partners who came together to encourage and empower the young players to take charge of their personal health. BoulderShares, which also sponsored the event, provided individualized health counseling and launched the use of a new health card to enable youth to track information about their health. Global DIRT was on hand to provide first aid care.
Each team received personal care kits with a variety of donated first aid supplies and hand sanitizer, plus information about protecting themselves against cholera and other health risks. A professional DJ had the kids dancing on the fields in between matches. The DJ also reinforced health and hygiene messages throughout the tournament. An estimated 1,000 people filled the sidelines to support their favorite teams.
Along with learning how to take charge of their health, the young players were treated to an inspiring exhibition match played by Haiti’s national amputee team.
We are proud of the sportsmanship and spirit displayed by all of the teams at the tournament. The girls teams in particular demonstrated an inspiring level of determination and high level of play. Through their love of soccer, these girls have become confident, healthy, determined young women. It’s incredible to see the support they have from the community, including from hundreds of men and boys who cheered them on as they played for a championship title.
Though soccer has a long history in Haiti, using soccer to advance development and promote health is relatively new. By hosting the largest youth soccer tournament in Haiti, GOALS is furthering its ongoing efforts to use soccer as a means to advance social change at the community and national level. Stay tuned, because next year's Vin Jwe! Tournament will be even better!
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