A ‘Phoenix’ rises from Haiti quake ashes
“I came to Cite Soleil because I was looking for a social commitment in line with my life’s vision. I said to myself, I am going to build a center for developing athletic talents,” Duval said.
He is looking to the Inter-American Development Bank, the Clinton Global Initiative and others to help him raise the US$5 million necessary to build the arena.
Despite no firm commitment on funding, he is determined his plans will come to fruition.
“The project is moving forward. The land is there — it was given to me by a Haitian. We are going to erect a beautiful stadium,” he said.
And Duval has a reason to be confident, for he has already achieved much. What started as soccer lessons for a small group of under-privileged youth has grown into a massive program that, in recent years, has provided the bulk of new players for Haiti’s professional clubs, as well as its national team.
The center’s young players have competed in tournaments around the world — bringing home trophies from Norway, the US, and most recently, from the 2011 Homeless World Cup, held last year under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Duval said his program does more than just teach soccer.