Two years after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, novelist Deji Olukotun examines the state of soccer on the Caribbean island. Soccer has a strong tradition in Haiti, which reached the World Cup finals in 1974 and produced Joe Gaetjens, whose goal for the USA beat England at the 1950 World Cup.
But soccer has struggled on the impoverished island before and after the earthquake that killed 30 members of the Haitian Football Federation meeting in Port-au-Prince. Haiti was kicked out of the 2011 Under-17 World Cup qualifying tournament because of fears of the cholera epidemic. Only two members of the youth team fell sick in Jamaica but the entire team was quarantined. The Sylvio Cator national stadium became a camp for displaced persons, but the Haitian government forcibly evicted them in July 2011 in order to clear the field for use.
Haitian players are spread around the world in 11 countries, but Haiti's bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup ended prematurely when it lost out to tiny Antigua & Barbuda in the second round of qualifying.