For Haiti's first ever game at the Gold Cup in 2000, a crowd of almost 50,000, most of them Haitian supporters, turned up at the Orange Bowl to watch the USA beat Haiti, 3-0.
Haiti enters the Gold Cup as arguably the hottest team in CONCACAF. Its victory in the Digicel CUF Cup final in January touched off wild celebrations in Port-au-Prince. (Its U-17 team qualified for this summer's world championship in South Korea, knocking out defending world champion Mexico, in one of the biggest upsets in CONCACAF history at any level.)
The architect of Haiti's revival is 39-year-old Luis Armelio Garcia, who previously worked in his native Cuba and Guadeloupe. Former Colorado Rapids midfielder Alexandre Boucicaut, Fucien Brunel and speedster Eliphene Cadet all had great CUF Cups. Another former Rapid, Miami-bred Fabrice Noel, was also called up for the Gold Cup.
European-based players include Frantz Bertin of Atletico Madrid (Spain), Jean-Jacques Pierre of Nantes (France) and Jean-Philippe Peguero, who joined Broendby of Denmark from MLS's MetroStars. A pair of Miami FC players will be right at home playing for Haiti in Miami: goalie Gabart Fenelon and defender Stephane Guillaume.
GOLD CUP RECORD:
Record: 1 wins, 3 losses, 1 ties
Goalkeepers: Gabart Fenelon (Miami FC/USA), Peterson Occenat (Violette), Jonas Simeon (Tempete);
Defenders: Frantz Bertin (Atl. Madrid/ESP), Pierre-Richard Bruny (Don Bosco), Frantz Gilles (Cavaly), Stephane Guillaume (Miami FC/USA), Windsor Noncent (no club), Jean-Jacques Pierre (Nantes/FRA), Ednerson Raymond (Baltimore de St.-Marc), Olrish Saurel (Don Bosco);
Midfielders: Jean Sony Alcenat (Aigle Noir), J. Michel Alexandre Boucicaut (Violette), Mones Chery (Racing Club Haiten), Brunel Fucien (Aigle Noir), Peter Germain (Baltimore de St.-Marc), James Marcelin (Racing Club Haiten), Turlien Romulus (Cavaly), Pierre Roland St. Jean (Baltimore de St.-Marc), Alain Vubert (Baltimore de St.-Marc);
Forwards: Eliphene Cadet (Tempete FC), Fabrice Noel (no club), Ricardo Pierre-Louis (no club).
Coach: Luis Armelio GARCIA (Cuba).