Haiti will always hold a special place in my heart, which is why I accepted without hesitation an opportunity to photograph a two-day tournament hosted by GOALS Haiti, an incredible organization that uses soccer to empower kids and uplift communities. The tournament, called “Vin Jwe,” which translates to “Come play,” took place at CNN hero Boby Duval‘s L’Athlétique d’Haïti in Port-au-Prince. Echoing the motto “pwoteje tèt ou – protect your health!” volunteers from BoulderShares provided individualized health counseling and Global DIRT provided first aid services for all of the participants. The young players were treated to an inspiring exhibition match between Haiti’s two national amputee teams.
Several images were used in various press outlets, including Haiti Libre and the organization’s annual report. Check out the full albums on the GOALS Facebook page.
Mesi gadyen! This keeper didn’t let a single penalty kick through during a tie-breaking shoot-out.
L’Athlétique d’Haïti the morning after a viscous rain storm. The teams arrived with no hesitation to play on in the mud.
The team fielded by Haiti Communitere carries an umbrella donated by Voila, a cellular provider on the island. Teams used the umbrellas for shade in the 90 degree weather.
Teammates celebrate a goal together during the first round of play.
The GOALS boys team warms up for their first game of the tournament. This was one of many synchronized drills.
While the big kids battled on the field, there was a constant game taking place on the sidelines, often with no shoes to be seen. One thing is for sure, Haitians love their soccer.
A keeper deflects a shot on the first day of the Vin Jwe tournament at L’Athlétique d’Haïti in Port-au-Prince.
This player from the GOALS girls team won the award for fiercest hair, hands down.
One of my favorite things about Haiti is their ability to make things work. Two chairs, four grown men? Pa gen pwoblem.
A keeper dives to save a shot during warm-ups on the first day of tournament play.
Aligning with GOALS overall mission, the tournament day also included health education and the motto “pwoteje tèt ou – protect your health!” Karla and Robinson from BoulderShares teach a team how to properly warm up their muscles before a game.
As part of BoulderShares program during Vin Jwe, a volunteer from the local nursing school takes a player’s blood pressure. Vital health statistics were recorded on health cards for players to keep and update as they grow.
A group of local boys got a hold of Robinson’s stethoscope and used it to play telephone.
A special exhibition game on the second day of the tournament pitted Haiti’s two national handicap teams against one another. The goalie, who lost both of his arms in the 2010 earthquake, makes a heroic save. The crowd was all smiles and cheers for the entire match.
Two handicap players fight for the ball during an exhibition match on the second day of play. The majority of the players on their teams lost limbs in the 2010 earthquake. Many feared they’d never walk again, much less play soccer, but Haitian resilience prevailed, as it tends to do.
The goalie breaks into a smile and waves to the crowd after a game-saving block.
Two players from opposite teams hug it out after the exhibition match.
GOALS founder Kona Shen poses with fellow board member Paul Sorenson and BoulderShares founder Leslie Sosnowski by the GOALS banner at the stadium.
A joint celebration between Fondation L’Athletique D’Haiti’s girls’ and boys’ teams, which both took first place in the tournament. Felisitasyon, tout moun!
An aspiring musician, perhaps?