Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Players are experiencing a lot of what Minnesota has to offer, from the lakes to the Mall of America.
"I was surprised that all people are nice and how welcoming they are here," added Mourad Lahrazh.
The team from Haiti may have had the hardest road getting to Minnesota. Soccer has been a way for young people to cope after the earthquake.
"Soccer helped him a lot because it kept him focusing on something, forgetting about the earthquake and also it helped him come here, so that is such an amazing experience to him," said an interpreter on behalf of Jean Eliezer.
The Haitian team was able to make the trip with the help of the Sanneh Foundation. Former professional soccer player and St. Paul native Tony Sanneh is doing ongoing outreach in Haiti. He organized soccer camps to give children a place to go while schools were being rebuilt.
"One of the first things I noticed was nobody was smiling. There was such terror, fear, and grieving going on. We let them be kids again at least for a day," said Sanneh.
Sanneh plans to go to Haiti several times a year to teach soccer and bring more teams for tournaments here in the U.S.