Five Things to Know: Haiti's U-20 National Team

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will take on Haiti in its crucial second match of the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose. The game can be seen live at 5:30 p.m. ET on Univision Deportes Network or via livestream on the official CONCACAF Facebook page.

Here’s what you should know about the USA’s Tuesday opponent:

Haiti Roster
The two clubs with the largest representation of players on Haiti’s roster are Real Hope Football Academy (4) and Aigle Noir Athlétic Club (2). Seven other clubs from Haiti’s Championnat National D1 make it the most well represented league on the team, accounting for 65 percent of the roster.

GOALKEEPERS (2): John Wodney Paris (Roulado), Isaac Rouaud (Le Mans)
DEFENDERS (6): Ulysse Denso (Real Hope Academy), Emerson Georges (Baltimore), Odilon Jerome (ANAC), Yvenet Noel (Ouanaminthe FC), Wilmond Oracius (Viva Rio/BRA), Fardyson Pierre (Real Hope Academy)
Alessandro Campoy (Unattached), Brian Chevreuil (Chateauroux/FRA), Clerveau Dutherson (Valencia), Abraham Duverger (Unattached), Wendy St Felix (ANAC)
Ronaldo Damus (Real Hope Academy), Kenley Dede (Don Bosco), Jonel Desire (ASC/HAI), Stevenson Guillaume (Racing FC), Roberto Badgio Louima (Real Hope Academy), Jimmy Shammar Sanon (Montreal Impact/CAN), Richelor Sprangers (NAC Breda/NED) 

M.L.S. and U.S. Soccer Development Academy Connection
One standout from Haiti’s roster is forward Jimmy-Shammar Sanon, who played for M.L.S. club Montreal Impact’s USL team, FC Montreal, in 2016 when his rocket of a goal vs. Charleston Battery was chosen as the league’s Goal of the Year. In his five games with FC Montreal, Sanon recorded one goal and one assist in 150 minutes played. Sanon joined Montreal Impact’s Development Academy in August 2012 and most recently appeared in 22 games and tallied nine goals during the 2015-16 Academy season. 

Sanon took part in camps with Canada’s U-16 and U-18 National Teams before deciding to play for the nation of his parents’ birth, Haiti.

What’s in a (nick)name?
The Haiti national teams have two nicknames – Les Grenadiers, which means “The Soldiers” and Le Rouge et Bleu, “The Red & Blue”, referring to their red and blue uniforms. 

2016 CFU Champions
Haiti comes into the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship as the winner of the 2016 Caribbean Football Union’s Under-20 tournament; the first time Les Grenadiers won the competition in the country’s history. In the championship game, Haiti defeated Antigua and Barbuda 4-0 with braces from Roberto Louima and Ronaldo Damus. 

Haiti also took home three pieces of individual hardware: goalkeeper Jhon Paris was awarded the Golden Glove, allowing only two goals, while Ronalso Damus’s six goals saw him earn the Golden Boot and teammate Roberto Louima was given the Golden Ball as tournament MVP.

A Hot Start
Haiti’s 5-1 victory vs. St. Kitts and Nevis on Saturday marked their best start and largest margin of victory in the CONCACAF tournament since 1984 when they opened group play with a 5-0 victory against Puerto Rico. Saturday’s win also saw Haiti end their seven-game winless streak in CONCACAF Under-20 Championship play, with the team finding the back of the net through Sanon in the fourth minute. Demonstrating a balanced attack, four more players scored, with Brian Chevreuil, Alessandro Campoy, Jonel Desire and Damus all converting. Depending on the outcome of the Panama-St. Kitts and Nevis match, a victory against the United States would almost certainly punch Haiti’s ticket to the next round.