Photo gallery: Dartmouth men's soccer vs. Haiti. View »
Photo gallery: Harvard men's soccer vs. Haiti. View »
Men’s soccer teams from Dartmouth and Harvard played exhibition matches against the Haitian national team in the last week, raising money to help rebuild the earthquake-ravaged nation.
Dartmouth lost to the Haitians, 2-1, on April 8 and Harvard lost on a penalty-kick tiebreaker on April 10. Both games raised money for Partners in Health relief efforts in Haiti.
The Harvard game drew 11,513 fans, and more than 2,000 took in the matchup with Dartmouth. Ticket sales at Harvard went toward the relief efforts, and fans also made donations at the events. Dartmouth fans donated more than $5,000.
The games were part of a five-day benefit tour for the Haitians.
The Haitian team is working toward qualifying for the World Cup in 2013. Haiti was the only Caribbean country to advance to the World Cup finals from 1938 until 1998, doing so in 1974. Soccer and the national team have unified a nation still suffering from the effects of a 7.0 earthquake that struck Jan. 12, 2010.
“There are very good players, and they will get better,’’ goalkeeper coach Felipe Bastos told the Boston Globe. “But they are missing a lot of the conditions you need outside the field. The federation is trying to get some things done but there are many problems, starting with the destruction of the country.
“It’s a poor country; it’s a country that has been destroyed. But the people have another motive to smile and that’s because of (soccer), it makes people happy. There are a lot of fans and they are fanaticos. You go to the stadium for the league games and they are there, and this was a manifestation of that.’’
The Haitian team is ranked 99th out of 202 teams by the world soccer organization FIFA.