People in Haiti will be able to watch their national team play in Copa America Centenario thanks to Jozy Altidore. The United States striker, whose parents are from Haiti, has worked with his foundation to team with the St. Luke Foundation and televise the tournament back to Haiti.
There was a chance that Copa America telecasts would not be available to many of the people in Haiti, despite the Haitians qualifying for the competition and putting them into their biggest tournament since the 1974 World Cup. But now there will be watch parties across the nation, with projector screens flown in from Miami to show the contests.
"When Haiti qualified I just thought it’d be a cool thing, because they haven’t qualified for a major tournament since the World Cup (in 1974)," Altidore told Sports Illustrated. "I thought this would be something cool knowing how much Haitian people love their national team … to have thousands of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see the matches broadcast the group games and see them perform."
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Haiti finished second in their group and went to the quarterfinals at last year’s Gold Cup to earn themselves a place in a Copa America Centenario qualifying playoff. Then they beat Trinidad and Tobago, 1-0, in that playoff to book their spot at Copa America.
This is the culmination of an amazing stretch for the Haitian team, which has strung together some of their best Gold Cup and Caribbean Cup performances over the last decade. Now they’re making the jump to a Pan-American tournament and a much bigger spotlight. It’s something that will be cool for the people of the country and thanks to Altidore and the St. Luke Foundation, they’ll get that chance.
Altidore won’t be playing for the U.S. at Copa America because of a hamstring injury, but the work to show matches in Haiti began even before he was hurt. This was something he wanted to do for the country. He’s done a lot of charity work in the country and this is simply the latest.