BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, January 15, 2010
With the devastation in Haiti continuing to mount following this week's powerful earthquake that has left that nation reeling, those affected in US Soccer are continuing to react and urge help.
Fabrice "Fafa" Picault who plays with Cagliari's Primavera team in Italy as well as the current US U20 team has been greatly affected by the tragedy. Picault, 18, was born in the United States but both his parents were born in Haiti. Picualt's strong ties to the nation have left him greatly affected by the devastation at a personal level.
"The situation is devastating and very sad. Each time I watch a video, it just seems worse and worse to be. I have already heard that my grandma and a few aunts are okay, which I am extremely thankful to God for," Picault told YA. "Now we are just waiting on more news from a few more family members and church friends in the country. I am praying to God and still hoping."
Picault is very grateful for the outpouring of support he has seen from the American people to help the suffering in Haiti. He is confident that the support will continue and he has ideas he wants to pass along as to what else is needed.
"Donations and food supplies are probably the best form of help anyone can give right now," Picault explained. "I also heard that American Airlines is providing free airfare for doctors who are willing to go help. If you are a doctor or know one, your help is desperately needed and would be appreciated so much. Also, your prayers would be just as useful as any money in this situation."
Picault also has plans to get personally involved this summer after his season in Italy is completed. He plans to visit the country as well as start his own organization.
"I plan on going in the summer with my church, a group of friends, or anyone who is willing to go with me. This will not be an easy task, but I'm willing to give all that I can. I am of Haitian decent and this could have happened to me if I was born there," Picault said of his plans to help. "In fact it could have happened to anyone. The victims are just very unfortunate."
"I also plan to begin my own charity/organization as soon as my financial situation is fully stabilized with soccer and I can find the right people to work with," Picault concluded. "In my trip this summer I will not only be looking to rebuild homes and buildings, but also in the spirits of those who have suffered."
Also affected by the tragedy is former US international Fernando Clavijo. From 2002-2005, Clavijo was the head coach of the Haitian national team. While he now lives in the Miami area serving as a director to the Brazilian based sports management group, Traffic Sports, Clavijo still has many friends in Haiti from his time coaching there. The news of the earthquake has left him concerned at a personal level.
"I've been trying to call two of my old assistant coaches but I have been unable to get in touch with anyone yet," Clavijo told YA. "I am trying to but I can't. It's a tough situation."
One of his former assistant coach that Clavijo is now very concerned about is Frantz Mathieu. Mathieu played for the Haitian national team in the 1970's and early 1980's but is an American citizen.
"Mathieu used to play for the Chicago Sting in the old NASL and is a US citizen but he moved back to Haiti about six years ago." Clavijo said about his former assistant coach. "I haven't been able to reach him or any of my former players and coaches."
"The sad part is that the country was in difficult shape before the earthquake. I can only imagine the devastation the people must face now," Clavijo said of the destruction. "I don't know how they can start to rebuild it. It's going to take a long time. It's unbelievable and sad."
"Everybody here at Traffic Sports are concerned and trying to do something." Clavijo concluded. "Hopefully we can do something."