Haiti: Viva Rio’s project brings football stars to Brazil
Before arriving to São Paulo, the two young players visit the Viva Rio headquarters at Rio de Janeiro
Two Haitian athletes from Viva Rio Haiti’s Black Pearl Football Academy were selected to join São Paulo’s soccer team, Centro de Treinamento Audax São Paulo Esporte Clube. Jasinthe Ricardo, 17, and Mackenson Fenelon, 14, will receive training and participate in the 2012 São Paulo Juniors Cup.
They were selected by the coach and executive manager of Audax, Thiago Scuro, who visited Haiti earlier this year. He praised the talent of the two young Haitian athletes, as well as that of the other athletes at the Black Pearl Football Academy.
Mackenson will play for the teenage league, while Ricardo will be part of the youth league. The two players will play at the the biggest football competition for each of their category, the São Paulo Juniors Cup, during which numerous young athlets have been discovered for professional Brazilian football.
Both athletes arrived in Brazil on September 23 and they will be staying indefinitely, depending on the caliber of their field performance and adaptation to the new country.
Meet the stars of the Black Pearl Football Academy:
The son of a football coach, Mackenson Fenelon, 14, was practically born with a ball close to his feet. His passion for football started at a young age, when he used to accompany his father to his practices with the Juvená team, a local team from Port au Prince. In June 2011, he participated in a tournament between teams of different communities and was voted one of the top 20 players. On the same day, he received an invitation to train at the Black Pearl Football Academy. The young player has high expectations: “During the internship, I hope to improve my game to be able to help my family and maybe even my country.” And he has a clear idea of how he will achieve this goal: “Firstly, one must believe in God. Then always seek to improve. That’s why you must really like what you do in order to succeed.”
From when he was 8 until his 16 years age, Ricardo Jasinthe, 17, trained at the football school at Club Athletic d’Haiti. In November 2011, during a match between his team and the Black Pearl team, the Viva Rio coaches were immediately drawn to his talent and invited him to train at the Black Pearl Academy. “Football is a creation of God meant to change the lives of young people,” says Ricardo. Fan of the Brazilian player Thiago Silva, he says he will take this internship opportunity in order to increasingly improve in football. “And, who knows, maybe I could even continue training in Brazil and play with Brazilians?”. For fellow Haitians who have the same dream as he does, he sends this message: “You can’t get discouraged. We must have hope and willpower to fight and realize our dreams. ”
Black Pearl Football Academy is the result of a partnership between Viva Rio and the Haitian Football Federation (FHF). It aims to contribute to the professionalization of this sport in Haiti.