Violette AC have endured countless struggles but fought through them all

Violette AC have endured countless struggles but fought through them all

The power of football has constantly been its ability to pull people together through the toughest of times. It can inspire and make positive change ripple through any society. This is exactly what Violette AC, the Haitian team who has become a front-page story following their Champions League giant-killing of Austin FC, is looking to promote. Despite the Ligue Haïtienne being forced to cancel or shorten the past 3 ½ years of football, Violette has managed to reach incredible heights.

Make no mistake, the capital club from Port-Au-Prince are no stranger to success. With seven league titles, two domestic cups, and a taste of continental glory when they captured the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1984, Violette would in any other society be utterly massive and feared by anyone who dares to step in their way. (They also did qualify for this year’s Champions League by winning the Caribbean Club Championship.)

However, in Haiti, the reality is quite different. It was a miracle in itself that this tie with Los Verde could even be played. Leg one wasn’t even in Haiti, but rather the Dominican Republic, featuring an early kickoff which meant many travelling from the other side of the island arrived well after the match had begun. When the collective did find their spots in the stands, it was purely vibes from there on out. In fact, the music, blaring from multiple sets of instruments, matched Violette on the day: the melody went up and down but ultimately it moved fast and smooth.


Austin did not respect Violette on this day. Coach Josh Wolff included a mere three starters from their exploits in Major League Soccer to that point. On any given night, that is a safe bet against a low-ranked opposition. But what Austin encountered was nothing short of a thrashing: 2-0 at halftime, with Violette making it a magic number by the time the clock had run out courtesy of an Austin own goal. Bursts of adrenaline down the wing were what Violette have shown to be dangerous on, and in both legs as well. Quick moves on the edge of the box seem to be their forte, and they have found ways to open up a ton of space inside the area and they’ve shown a great ability to pick out the right player. Roberto Louima, the number ten, showed great quality driving down the left wing and flinging balls into the box, most prominently for Miche-Naider Chéry, who bagged the two first-half strikes. The former couldn’t get into the U.S., which was a prominent and unfortunate hurdle for Violette. These desperate times called for the desperate measure of recruiting athletes, last-minute, who play for FC Motown of USL League 2. Visas have become a killer of Haitian clubs in the Champions League: last year, AS Cavaly couldn’t assemble a full squad to enter America prior to their clash with New England Revolution. They ended up withdrawing entirely from the tournament, a sad reality given that those players are going home to ruins.

The 2010 earthquake sent the Caribbean nation into a constant spiral of dread. Hundreds of thousands died and many more were left with brutal injuries. Over one million people became homeless. The tragedy set Haiti too far back, well and far over $7.5 billion to be exact, and since then, no matter how many dollars raised or volunteers helping on-site, Haiti could not be helped. Earthquake relapses due to the country sitting on the fault line were inevitable, but the frequency of these natural disasters (hurricanes are frequent too) leaves Haiti stranded. Coupled with an unstable government and overall society (the two were bound together when president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home), Haiti is a room made of glass; outside powers and people alike seem to enjoy throwing rocks at it.

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There have been no shimmers of hope, no real proof that Haiti would come back either the same or better. Light is hard to come by and the tunnel goes on for miles.

On Tuesday, March 14th, the tables turned. It was the U.S.A. trying to make a comeback while Haiti was in the driver’s seat. Wolff was fielding a much better XI, complete with Seba Driussi and Gyasi Zardes up top. Relentless pressing led to shot after shot after shot, each new one making your heart stop and think “this might be over.” A comeback was cut short by sensational defending and a work rate that is unmatched. Goalkeeper Paul Robert Décius, who didn’t even start the first leg, was leaping all over his six-yard box. Although he conceded twice, the damage was limited enough for Violette to see another day. With a mere 23% possession, conceding 35 shots to their six, and Austin creating ten corners to play with, Violette somehow held it together and didn’t collapse. After a second leg that took upward of 100 minutes, Violette was moving on.


They are now a beacon of happiness, hope, and endless possibilities. Next up is either Mexican giants Club León or Panama’s Tauro FC, which isn’t the scariest of draws.

35 seconds 13 years ago quite literally rocked Haiti to the core. Despite suboptimal life, Haitians have kept the faith and marched on. Violette does not represent Port-Au-Prince anymore, they represent the whole country, and embody the fighting spirit that Haitians have been forced to live with for north of a decade.

Ultimately, resilience has been rewarded and it has won, finally. Violette refuses to disappear and their impacts will be heard around the world in the days to come.

Light is creeping in, slowly but surely. Nevertheless, that tactic always wins the race.

Top photo via ProSoccerWire

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One thought on “Violette AC have endured countless struggles but fought through them all

  1. Appreciate the mix of football and Haitian history in this article. It’s amazing how sport reflects life and vice versa

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