Derrick Etienne (pictured) has made a positive impression with the Haiti under-20 national team and the New York Red Bulls. (Photo: Mexsport
HARRISON, New Jersey -- It certainly has been a memorable year for Derrick Etienne and it is quite young.
Let us count the many ways it has been for the 18-year-old footballer.
He is a member of the New York Red Bull Academy team.
He already has accepted a scholarship to the University of Virginia, which has a storied soccer program.
He played for Haiti in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship earlier this year.
And, this past Saturday, he donned the uniform of New York Red Bulls II for the very first time in the team’s first-ever game in the United Soccer Leagues (USL), a scoreless draw with the Rochester Rhinos at Red Bull Arena.
Etienne came on in the 59th minute and helped boost the host’s attack.
Head coach John Wolyniec certainly liked what he saw.
"Derrick came on and showed that he had some talent," said the former Red Bull standout. "He was pretty close to cracking the game. It didn't quite happen for him."
Just playing with the pros was a memorable experience for Etienne. Although still an amateur, he signed a USL academy agreement to compete for Red Bulls II without collecting a salary or other compensation, which allows him to remain eligible for college play.
"It was a very good experience," Etienne said. "I was very excited to get out there, playing in the Academy. It was great to play with the guys, some pros in the USL team. They kept getting me the ball. They kept pushing me to go up. It was a very satisfying day."
If the name Derrick Etienne sounds familiar to Haitian fans, it is because Etienne's family has a strong background in the sport. His father, Derrick, and uncle, Darrell, played with the Haitian national team.
The Paterson, New Jersey-native has been with the Haiti program since he was a U-17 player.
“Haiti was there,” Etienne expressed. “They wanted me to come and I was able to get my chance and play with them."
The Etienne family has been bursting with pride in Derrick's success with the Red Bulls and Haiti.
"They're very proud," he finished. "They were pushing me to do it and, fortunately, I was lucky enough to get it. They were very proud. It was a very big moment, especially for my grandfather, who was from Haiti. So just to get on the field with the Haiti badge on was a very, very good feeling."