MIAMI, Florida – Women’s football in Haiti will never be the same after February 22, 2023. That date will forever live in the annals of the country’s sporting history, as it was the day that Haiti defeated Chile 2-1 to qualify for their first ever FIFA Senior Women’s World Cup, as they punched their ticket to Australia/New Zealand 2023.
For nine women in particular, it was another beautiful milestone achieved by a group of players, who are, without question, the golden generation of Haitian women’s football.
Just five years ago history was made when the Haitian Under-20 Women’s National Team qualified for the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup -- their first Women’s World Cup of any age level -- thanks to their Third-Place finish that year in the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship held in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago.
An astounding nine players from that 2018 CWU20 squad were part of the team that recently took part in the 2023 Women’s World Cup Inter-Confederation Playoffs that culminated with Haiti’s dramatic triumph over Chile: GK Kerly Theus, DF Bethina Petit-Frere, DF Tabita Joseph, DF Ruthny Mathurin, MF Danielle Etienne, MF Sherly Jeudy, FW Roseline Eloissant, FW Nerilia Mondesir and FW Melchie Dumornay.
During the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup France 2018 group D match between Germany and Haiti at Stade de la Rabine on August 13, 2018 in Vannes, France. (Photo by FIFA)
Durmornay was just 14 during that 2018 CWU20, but five years later at the age of 19 she is a national hero for scoring both goals versus Chile.
“There are so many challenges and so many wonderful things to experience at a World Cup. It’s truly amazing.”@fhfhaiti's match-winner, Melchie Dumornay is relishing the thought of playing on the biggest stage of all. 🙌#FIFAWWC | #BeyondGreatness— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) February 22, 2023
For players like Etienne and everyone associated with women’s football in Haiti, it is a landmark moment for a country that lives and breathes the game.
“It just shows how far we've come as a nation and as a team. It means so much to us. This is a breath of fresh air to brighten the country. It's more than just football. It's making strides in football, but also helping lift our country during such a hard time,” said Etienne in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
Etienne hailed the effort of her generation of players in helping make World Cup history in Haiti for a second time, but also spoke of how this qualification could inspire the generations to come.
“All of us are just so proud to be part of an even greater moment in history. It does say a lot about this generation of players. We're developing, we're getting better and we're becoming strong individual players. With time it will only get even better, so I think it says a lot about our generation, but I also feel like it says a lot about the generation that's upcoming. There are so many great players in Haiti. There are so many great Haitian players all over the world,” said Etienne.
Don’t expect Etienne and Haiti to arrive to Australia/New Zealand 2023 with a “happy to be there” mentality. Everyone within the squad has a desire to strive for more and make this Women’s World Cup another special moment for women’s football in Haiti.
“We're not the same Haiti we used to be years ago, where teams were not fearing us. Now we're stepping on the field and people are giving us more respect because they see how far we've come. We were able to make history one time and make history again, and I just hope that we continue to do that and become genuine World Cup competitors,” concluded Etienne.