The United States has reason to be proud of its Under 17 Girl’s Soccer Team, not only because of its winning record, but because of its caring compassionate behavior.
Goalkeeper, Bryane Heaberlin, 16, from St. Petersburg, Florida and her team mates dreaded the post game victory handshakes after they beat the Haitian Girls’ soccer team, 9-0. Considering what these girls had been experiencing since the earthquake, the U.S. girls were thinking of just how strong these Haitian girls were and if they themselves could do likewise if things were reversed. The Haitian girls had played well, but still lost the game to the U.S.
After the handshakes, the Haitian team’s goalkeeper, Alexandra Coby suddenly collapsed in tears. Bryane Heaberlin,16, the U.S. goalkeeper felt she had to do something. “Seeing her on the ground just hit me,” she said, “I knew that she needed us.”
Bryane, ran across the field and gathered up the distraught Coby in her arms. She held her and cried with her. She didn’t let go. She prayed she could help if only for a minute. “I told her she had done great,” she said.
Then her team mates joined in and soon all the under 17 U.S. teams and the Haitian teams came together…hugging and crying in one big group hug. In minutes photos and videos of the team’s compassion and tenderness were shown around the world.
The U.S under 17 Girls’ Soccer team had played the Haiti Girls’ Soccer team in the international championship meet held in Costa Rica last week and won easily.
For the United States team it wasn’t much of a victory. Just the fact that these girls from Haiti were participating after the recent earthquake, had been the talk of the competition. Having to play against them was difficult.
Many of the Haitian girls had experienced trauma and loss. Soccer is in the lifeblood of Haiti’s youth, but soccer certainly had not been a priority the last few months. When the time came to try to put the girls’ team back together, some of the girls were living on the streets.
The sponsoring Haitian Soccer Federation Headquarters Building is now rubble and 30 members, a coach and players have died. How these young girls could even get it together and play again, was a testament to their bravery. Something all the teams were aware of.
Besides their demonstration of compassion and admiration, the U.S. team players also filled individual backpacks for the Haitian team with toiletries and gifts any teenage girl would like. They wrote personal messages. Bryane’s family, her high school, Berkely Prep. and the Clearwater Soccer league delivered care packages.
Nike, donated casual gear and soccer shoes. The US Women’s Soccer national team donated duffel bags filled with soccer clothes and equipment. The Red Cross is accepting donations for the team.
The young girls on the US soccer team are not only champion athletes but terrific role models. Hopefully the Haitian girls team went home feeling a little better. They know they have friends in the U.S. who care.
St. Pete Times