WNT Oct 29, 2010
It's not often a winning team would enter the opponent's locker room, especially after a World Cup qualifying match, but that's exactly what happened tonight in Cancún, Mexico after the USA's 5-0 win over Haiti.
The island nation is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of last January 12 that reduced much of the country to rubble and took an estimated 230,000 lives, injured more than 300,000 and left one million homeless.
To do their small part to help the Haitians, each U.S. player brought extra soccer gear, cleats, clothes, toiletries and other comfort items to Mexico and passed them on to the Haitians after the match. In a bit of a role reversal, the U.S. WNT followed on the path set by the U.S. Under-17 WNT, which brought similiar gifts for the Haitians during U-17 CONCACAF Qualifying last March in Costa Rica. That experienced inspired U.S. U-17 goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin to start a foundation to raise money to bring the Haitian U-17 WNT to Florida for the Disney Cup International Youth Tournament last July.
Invited by Heaberlin, Wambach visited with the young Haitians in Florida.
Tonight, Wambach spoke briefly to the Haitians (through a translator), praising their fighting spirit during the match and explaining the motivation for the gifts.
She said that the U.S. players wanted to show their support for all that the Haitian players are going through in the aftermath of the earthquake and expressed the hope that they would take the few gifts and go back with a smile on their faces as they help rebuild their country. “We wanted them to know that they were thinking of them and we wished them good luck in the rest of the tournament,” said Wambach. The U.S. players then chatted with the Haitian players and posed for pictures. Here are a few pics from the encounter.
Prior to passing on the gifts of soccer gear from the American players, Abby speaks to the Haitians on behalf of the U.S. WNT