Strikers Fafa Proud to Follow in Grandfather's Footsteps
When the Strikers' speedy forward Fabrice "Fafa" Picault was called up to train and play with the Haitian National Team as they prepared for their September 9th friendly against Chile, he was very surprised. Picault, or as he likes to be called, Fafa, had no idea that Haiti was even considering him. The Strikers' leading scorer has been training with the Haitian team since September 1st.
At 18, Fafa trained with the USA U-20 National Team, which was then coached by former Strikers favorite Thomas Rongen. Fafa, born in Manhattan, NY to Haitian parents, moved to South Florida in his youth and played for a number of clubs in the area. His dream is to play for the US National Team, something that is still a possibility, since he is still eligible to play with the US since the Haiti vs Chile match is only a friendly.
"It was really exciting to find out," said Fafa about being called up. "I didn't know they were tracking me at all. This is a great opportunity for me to show what I'm capable of against world class players."
Strikers players James Marcelin, Stephan Guillaume and Fafa Picault have all played with the Haiti National Team The Haitian National Team is currently being led by French coach Marc Collat, who recently became their coach . "It's going to be a new opportunity for everyone to learn a new system under Collat," added Picault.
While never expected to be called up by Haiti, he is very proud of what this means for his family, especially since his grandfather, Max Antoine, also played with the Haitian National team.
"Playing for the National Team of Haiti is a different feeling," said Picault. "It's more of a cultural and heritage pride. Having an opportunity to wear the same jersey that my grandfather wore and representing a country that has gone through so much in the past few years gives me great pride.
Fafa's grandfather is his inspiration for playing futbol. He fondly remembers the days of playing with him in the backyard.
"You could see that at his old age, he had some mad skills," said Fafa of his grandfather.
"I throroughly enjoyed the time I had with him and he told me something when I was growing up that still stays with me to this day," recalled Fafa. "He said 'The ball is like a spoon of food,.' Then he asked me, 'when you have your food does anybody take your food from you?' I said "no." So he said 'exactly. That's the same way the ball is supposed to be. And if anyone ever takes away your food from you, you fight them until you get your food back.' And that's a lesson for life and soccer."
Earlier this year, Fafa got the opportunity to share a bit of his culture with his teammates, when the Strikers were invited to play a match in Haiti. The team were invited by the Minister of Youth, Sports and Civic Action (MJSAC), Magalie Racine, the Mayor of Petion-Ville, Yvanca Jolicoeur Brutus and by Mr. Ford, the President of Don Bosco FC to play in Haiti against Don Bosco FC in the newly renovated Parc St. Therese in Petion-Ville, Haiti.
"The opportunity to share our culture with the guys on our team was amazing. It helped us bond as a team, said Fafa. "Having the chance to see my family was great. I hadn't been there since 2005 when my grandfather died. When the opportunity to go with the team came, I was very excited to feel the atmosphere of the country and see how it's improved through the new president."
While his aspiration to play for the US is still strong, he's taking his opportunity with the Haitian National Team with full commitment. Throughout his career, Fafa has given his all to soccer, and he believes soccer has a way to give back to Haiti.
"Soccer is a source of joy for many," said Fafa. "In some cases it's all some people have. I truly believe if Haiti has success in soccer it will help push the country more in a positive direction."
The match featuring Haiti vs Chile will take place on Tuesday, September 9 at 8:00 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium. Fans can purchase tickets to the match at the Strikers office by calling 954-606-0400.
The Strikers visited Haiti earlier this year.
• Discuss this story on the North American Soccer League message board...
North American Soccer League Stories from September 8, 2014
- San Antonio Scorpions Midfielder Rafael Castillo Named NASL Player of the Week - NASL
- Strikers Fafa Proud to Follow in Grandfather's Footsteps - Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.