Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Next Haitian Hero of U.S. Soccer

The World Cup tournament returns this week, and for billions of fans throughout the world, time will slow down.

By Laurent Dubois

This Saturday, the U.S. faces England in its first game of the World Cup. The two teams last battled over the Cup 60 years ago. In one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport, the U.S. won 1-0, thanks to help from an unexpected place: Haiti.

The winning goal - a beautiful diving header - was scored by Joe Gaetjens, a Haitian man and onetime Columbia University student who lived and played soccer in New York. In those days athletic officials were a little more flexible about citizenship requirements for teams. They let Gaetjens, as well as other immigrant players, slide onto the team if the players promised they would apply for U.S. citizenship.

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