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MIAMI NAMES A SOCCER PARK AFTER EMMANUEL SANON IN LITTLE HAITI
The Mayor of Miami, Manny Diaz, and Miami Commissioner for Little Haiti, Michelle Spence-Jones, who replaced Arthur Teele, Jr. who died two years ago, and Miami Commissioner Thomas Regalado, and the Mayor of Port au Prince Muscadin Jean Yves Jason, and the Commissioner Jacques Despinosse of North Miami, presided over the ceremony of unveiling the large sign that carries the inscription, "Emmanuel Sanon Soccer Park, Little Haiti, City of Miami". Miami and Port au Prince are Sister Cities.
The program started at 12:00 AM with all the presentations by the various officials and a posthumous tribute paid to Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr. who fought for ten years for this park, which became his brainchild and his obsession. He finally got $25 million dollars committed for the park by the City of Miami, and Metro Dade County contributed the remaining $12 million. The park still needs many more amenities, but it already has two natural grass soccer fields with lights, and concrete stands for 850 people with press boxes and a public address system. There are plans to add 580 seats, showers, locker rooms, parking, a basket ball court, etc...
The ceremonies were followed by three soccer games in which Eglise Catholique of Pere Reginald Jean Marie of Notre Dame d'Haiti defeated Haiti International of North Miami High School Principal Jean Coty Ridore 1 - 0, followed by Haitian Argentine Fans over Brazil Fans by 2 - 0, and finally the Youth Team of Athletique d'Haiti of Cite Soleil (Haiti) put on a soccer clinic in overwhelming Little Haiti 4-1. Compliments are in order for the Cite Soleil coach Ronald Luxieux and his competent staff, that presented the most disciplined Haitian team we have seen perform in a long time, and they are all under 16 years of age. We have to do whatever humanly possible to offer these young athletes the opportunity to become future international stars.
These Under 17 kids were playing consistent, disciplined one touch football that we have not seen from their elders since 1974 with Philippe Vorbe, Manno Sanon, Tom Pouce, Pierre Bayonne, Roger St Vil, Mario Leandre, Claude Barthelemy, Phito Leandre, Guy Francois, Ernst Jean Joseph, Wilner Nazaire, Arsene Auguste (Pelao), Henry Francillon etc.
This is the result of many years of disciplining by a program started by Bobby Duval many years ago in Cite Soleil and which now FEEDS 1300 kids daily hot meals besides educating them and teaching them the beautiful game of football, the JOGO BONITO. VOILA and YELE HAITI are also the main sponsors of the feeding program. Ms Gwynne Beatty is the Director of the Social Investment for Trilogy International Partners which coordonates this program. Bobby Duval informed us that he is taking the kids to Denmark again this Summer at the invitation of Denmark.
Bobby Duval has now extended the program to five other provinces in the Artibonite Valley.
The overflowed crowd at the park which was 100% behind the Cite Soleil kids, donated generously over $1,700.- in one dollar bills to the kids from Haiti, who will return home with over $86.-each in cash. They were also given Target Gift Cards worth $50.- for each kid so they can go shopping. They were also taken to Jungle Island for an excursion, paid for by the City of Miami. Other major contributors included HAITI VOILA Telecommunications, which paid for their airlines tickets from Haiti to Miami, Bakery Cafe Restaurant of Rony Desvarenes of Little Haiti which donated 150 meals to the teams in three days. The City of Miami paid for their hotel rooms at the Five Star OMNI HOTEL, another group headed by Highway Patrol Lt Pat Santangelo paid for complete soccer gear, shoes, balls, equipment and sport bags for all the teams, etc...
This day ended up on a successful and happy note with music provided by several Haitian bands including Top Vice with Roberto Martino and Freddie. This great event proved once again how much we, Haitians, can accomplish when we pull together and follow our own national motto "L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE".
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The City of Miami has taken a bold step last Saturday, May 3, in naming a $37 million dollar 15 acre soccer park after Emmanuel Sanon, the Haitian Athlete of the Century, who died last month at the age of 57 in Orlando from cancer of the pancreas. The ceremony was attended by his widow, Mrs Suzie Sanon, and his four children, who were the official guests of the City of Miami. The Government of Haiti had previously honored the Germany World Cup 1974 hometown hero from Petionville with a gigantic national funeral at the Sylvio Cator Stadium attended by over 20,000 adoring fans. Also a 5,000 sq.ft. adjacent Cultural Center was named after the late Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr., which has an art gallery, a black-box theater, and several studios.
Legendary Soccer Player Star Emmanuel Sanon
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WITH BARBARA & VALERIO SAINT-LOUIS
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