With the devastation and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew to parts of the US and Caribbean countries such as Haiti, the Brescia University Men’s Soccer team is currently seeking donations of blankets, clothing, shoes and monetary gifts to be donated.
Donations can be brought to the Men’s Soccer Team home game at Kamuf Park on October 29th at 3:00 pm or they can be dropped off at any time to the Men’s Soccer Team office located in the Science Building on campus.
The team, led by head coach Will Van Nostrand and Assistant Coach, John Harralson, were inspired to seek out a way to aid those that were affected by the hurricane by four members of the Brescia University Men’s Soccer Team who are of Haitian decent and still have family and friends residing in Haiti;
- Doodlyn Colas (Petion-Ville Montagne-Noire),
- Kerby Edme (Delmas, Port-au-Prince),
- Jean Gilbert Laurent (Saint Marc)
- and Wenderson Petit (Saint Marc).
“We wanted to find a way to provide aid and donations to the relief efforts for the people of Haiti, and after researching we discovered that blankets, clothing, and shoes were the items that were needed the most,” stated Van Nostrand. “We are very fortunate to have Doodlyn, Kerby, Jean and Wenderson as a part of our team, some of whom he came to the United States and eventually here to Brescia, following the devastating earthquake that affected Haiti a few years back.”
Colas, Edme and Laurent were all living in Haiti at the time of the earthquake in 2010.
“It is very sad to see Haiti get affected by Hurricane Matthew because [they] haven’t fully recovered from the earthquake,” stated Laurent, who has been in the U.S. since 2010.
And while all four of the students have resided in the U.S. for at least four years or more, they attribute their love of soccer to their home country and the pride Haitian take in their beloved sport.
“Soccer is the main sport in Haiti,” explained Edme. “Most kids start playing soccer at a young age. As for me, I have been playing soccer for as long as I can remember.”
Petit, who has resided in the U.S. since 2004, described how playing soccer in Haiti was different: “I remember most kids couldn’t afford a pair of cleats so some of us would play barefoot. We were also reckless, playing in the rain with power lines over our head. We would use unconventional ways to just play the only sport that mattered to us. We didn’t always have a soccer ball since they were expensive, but it didn’t matter. To us, a tennis ball was a soccer ball, so was a deflated basketball, a football etc. And when there wasn’t a ball to kick around, an empty soda can or plastic bottle was what we used.”
For someone like Colas, who has played soccer since he was six-years-old, he described playing soccer as “the best things that can happen to a Haitian.”
Their love of soccer eventually led them here to Brescia University, but these Computer Science majors are pursuing their dreams that include obtaining Masters Degrees and even looking into the possibility of playing professional soccer.
“My experience has been really good at Brescia so far, both in the classroom and on the soccer field. The professors are always there for you. Since the classrooms are small, it is easier to have a one on one conversation with the professor,” stated Edme. “I know that I can always get that one on one time with the professor.”
The team members are still adjusting to the Kentucky weather and the idea of a cold winter, but their experience at Brescia has made an impact. Laurent describes his teammates as being “like family to me now.”
“I’m still in the adjustment process,” stated Petit, who is currently in his second season with the Bearcats. “This is all new to me, however, I think it is a great experience; traveling with the team, living on campus, making new friends. It is definitely worth it.”
For questions about donation items, or how you can help, contact Will Van Nostrand at [email protected].
“I believe every human feels sad about what happened to Haiti. But as Haitians, people who were born and grew up in Haiti, we want to not only help the people when they are in need but make a plan to prevent those natural disasters from making maximum damage when they occur,” said Edme.