FRISCO, Texas -- FC Dallas returned to the training grounds at Pizza Hut Park today in preparation for Saturday’s match with Real Salt Lake. But stern as the task of extending the team’s 19-game unbeaten streak in hostile Rio Tinto Stadium will be, it is nowhere close to the adversity overcome by the men FC Dallas met today.
Members of the Haitian Men’s Amputee Soccer Team trained for the third time in two days on the sprawling complex of Pizza Hut Park this morning before meeting the FC Dallas players on field five. The Haitians’ are preparing for the World Cup of Amputee Soccer being held in Crespo, Argentina beginning Saturday, Oct. 16.
The team was formed by International Institute of SPORT President Dr. Fred Sorrells.
“We began working back in March with the World Amputee Soccer Association,” Sorrells said. “As soon as I found out they were having the World Cup in Argentina in October, we started working towards getting a team together. We basically had to get amputee soccer started over the whole country: form teams, start leagues, have a national championship and choose the best players all in the spirit of showing people there’s still life after an amputation.
“In third world countries if you have a disability, you’re pretty much finished. It’s pretty much ‘why don’t you hurry up and die and get out of the way.’ But we found through therapeutic recreation… people begin to realize these people still have value.
“One of our athletes [MacKendy Francois] used to work in a t-shirt factory. He was supposed to get off work on January 12th at 5 p.m. in the afternoon. At 4:53 that 7.0 hit Haiti and the roof and a lot of the structure came down on top of him. He was pinned under rubble all night long. People heard his cries sometime later and eventually someone tried to pull him out, but there was just too much rubble. They couldn’t do it. They were afraid with the aftershocks that the rest of the building might fall on all of them. All they could do was cut off his leg.
“He was just devastated. ‘I’m now finished. I am now a disabled person.’ But one day, some people from the Haitian Amputee Soccer Association saw him on the street and said ‘MacKendy, we need you. We have this amazing game. We’re looking for players. We’re going to the World Cup – come and try out.’
“He came and tried out. He made the team. I was there the day he was selected. That night his dad called weeping, saying thank you for selecting my son. Many of the guys have a similar story. Two of our three goalkeepers are also victims of the earthquake. It’s such a joy for them to feel useful – to have a part to play in rebuilding their country.”
MacKendy and the rest of the Haitian Men’s Amputee Soccer Team will train daily at Pizza Hut Park from 8-10 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. through Thursday morning. The team departs for Argentina Thursday evening. The team is still in need of donations to support the transport of the Haitian Amputee Soccer Team. People and organizations wishing to contribute to the cause can donate at www.iisport.org/help/donate.html or by calling (214) 674-6196.
Media wishing to speak to Haitian Amputee Soccer Team officials are welcome to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haitian Men’s Amputee Soccer Team Roster
|Jacques Frantz Cesar||12-15-1985||GK||0|
|St-Mellio Jean Baptiste||11-11-1969||D||7|