View Full Version : Soccer more than a game

05-09-06, 01:39 AM
Soccer more than a game

By Francisco Ojeda
The Oklahoman

Soccer isn't just a sport that Wesley Laine played growing up in Haiti.
It gave him an escape from the poverty-stricken and war-torn country he grew up in. It's a sport that helped keep his mind off the gunshots he heard at night, the robberies he saw and the murders in his neighborhood.

"It was a way to get away from everything," Laine said. "And not be able to think about what's going on."

And it's giving the Northwest Classen senior forward an opportunity he only dreamed of. Laine has gone from the mean streets of Haiti to earning an academic and soccer scholarship to Holy Cross.

"It's something I did for fun and now it's helping me with school," Laine said. "I never thought I would get an opportunity like this, make a better life like this. I can please my dad with my academics and I can go play."

It's why his father, a pastor, decided to bring the family to America in June 2000. To have a safer life and a better future. To help overcome the struggles.

Along with the violent surroundings in Haiti, he grew up in a one-parent home. His mother died when he was young. And it took some time for his family to come to America. He, his sister and father were turned down for visas four times before they were granted.

"I'll never forget that day," Laine said. "It was God and luck. It's really worked out."

At a school not known for athletic excellence, Laine is a big reason Northwest is in the state tournament for the second straight year, the first two trips in school history. The speedy forward, nicknamed the "Haitian Sensation," has 14 goals and 12 assists this year to help Northwest Classen to a 15-1 record.

And that's just on the soccer field. Off it, he is on the Student Council, National Honor Society and has a 3.7 grade-point average.

"Coming here in a way was a bit of heaven for him," Northwest Classen coach Billy Tilman said. "Coming from the place he came from, his values aren't into possessions. It's into people. He's very bright and very funny. And he's a hard competitor."

And he doesn't take things for granted. It doesn't bother him having to practice on dirt fields like budget-strapped Northwest does. He played on the streets, on dirt, anywhere he could in Haiti.

At Northwest, he can just enjoy playing. And looking forward to what lies ahead.

"It's definitely better than Haiti," Laine said. "Just to have an opportunity is the main thing. To be able to accomplish something."