FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman called Friday night’s scrimmage between his reserves and the Haitian national team "more of a fellowship of soccer players," a statement his players agreed with.
On the field, FCD prevailed 5-1, but this game was truly about much more than soccer, with a nation still reeling from January’s earthquake that killed more than 200,000 Haitians.
“Before the game, I asked the boys, what do we know about Haiti?” Hyndman said. “I said they’ve got a lot on their mind. They’ve got a purpose. We can’t even imagine what they’ve been through and what their country is going through.”
With a U.S. Open Cup play-in match with D.C. United looming on Wednesday and a trip to New England on Saturday, Hyndman and his players wanted to perform well and win, but the FCD coach also didn’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture that surrounded Friday’s event.
“They’re trying to help any way they can by raising money to help the families back home,” he said. “Yes, we want to play well and win, but today was more of a fellowship of soccer players trying to feel the pain they’re in. It was a special game for us.”
Approximately 400 fans turned out and $3,000 in donations was collected to help victims of the Haiti earthquake.
For FCD forward Peri Marosevic, who had the final goal of the night, it truly was a night to remember.
“This is a special event, this is something great,” he said. “Not only are we able to get a game in, but we’re able to help another country that went through some difficulties. Those guys have a lot on their minds and in their hearts. This is definitely a great opportunity to give back and show that we do support Haiti.”
The former Michigan Wolverine also gave FCD’s opposition a lot of credit for the heart and character they displayed.
“The Haitian team did a great job pulling it together,” Marosevic said. “You can tell they play with passion to represent their country, which is great to see. This is an unbelievable thing to do to help with donations.”
Fellow striker Jason Yeisley, who had a pair of goals for FCD, expressed similar sentiment.
“It was such an awesome experience,” the rookie forward said. “You hear about [the earthquake] in the news and feel so far away. Just playing a friendly game against them might feel like such a small thing but it means so much to them. And it’s really special just to take part in it and be a small piece in their rebuilding effort.”