• Sunday Jan 28, 2018

    Mondesir on U-20 Women’s World Cup berth: We qualified for Haiti

    Captain Nerilia Mondesir (pictured) played a key role in Haiti qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. (Photo: CA-Images)

    COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago — Nerilia Mondesir already knows what it’s like to play football in France, competing for Montpellier in Division 1 Feminine (D1F).

    In August, the star forward will be joined by her Haiti teammates after the Caribbean country qualified for the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup for the first time on Sunday.

    “It’s so crazy,” Mondesir told CONCACAF.com after Haiti’s historic 1-0 win over Canada in the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship match for third place.  “We worked hard and we are very happy.  We’re going to celebrate for sure.”

    Haiti hadn’t even reached the semifinal round in three previous CU20W appearances, which made becoming the first Caribbean team to qualify for the World Cup even more satisfying.  It’s an achievement that left the Haitian captain nearly speechless.

    “We are all proud of what we achieved against Canada today,” expressed Mondesir.  “I don’t know what else there is to say.”

    The 19-year-old’s influence throughout the tournament was massive.  She struck for a hat-trick in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Trinidad & Tobago in the first match of Group A.  Then, following a 3-2 win over Costa Rica that clinched Haiti’s spot in the semifinals, Mondesir was rested for the final group stage match — a 4-0 loss to Canada.

    Although Haiti would eventually fall on penalty kicks, Mondesir struck for a dramatic late equalizer against the United States in the semifinals.  It was Haiti’s first goal against the five-time champion.

    Mondesir said a CU20W of firsts for Haiti was a long time in the making.

    “We were preparing for a year or two,” she commented.  “We worked hard, worked on qualifying and that’s why we’re here today.”

    Now, Mondesir said, the bar is raised for Haitian women’s football.  The goal going forward is to make sure there are subsequent trips to the World Cup at all levels.

    That will bring even more joy to the Caribbean nation.

    “I just want to send a big thank you to everyone in Haiti,” Mondesir finished.  “Haiti generally suffers from time to time, but we won for them and qualified for them. We’re happy for that.”

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