Becoming a champion: The story of Esteri Joseph

Note: For nearly two years, our Facebook icon has been the grinning face of a skinny little girl from the rural village of Destra, proudly clutching her first ever pair of cleats. This is her story of becoming a GOALS champion. 
Esteri has been our smiling Facebook icon since 2011.

Esteri has been our wide-smiling Facebook icon since 2011.

2010: In the beginning

When GOALS was just beginning in Leogane, Esteri was a shy little girl, underweight but with a big smile. When GOALS came to her remote seaside village in 2010, she had never played football before, and, by all accounts, she wasn’t very good! But GOALS could always count on her love for the game, her kindness, patience and determination. Amongst all the kids, she stood out for her big dreams to become a football player, which motivated her to work hard and come to practice every day. She grew up with GOALS and with football in her life and day after day, she slowly became stronger, healthier, and a better football player.

Before too long, Esteri became one of the best players on her team. She came to soccer practice every day, and participated in all of GOALS’ activities. Her belief in herself and the GOALS program soon paid off.

Esteri in 2010. Scroll down to see what Esteri looks like today!

Esteri in 2010. Scroll down to see what Esteri looks like today!

 

2014: Four years later

Four years later, Esteri is no longer training with GOALS. Why? Recently, while leading her under-12 girls’ team to a second place victory in a national tournament, Esteri was scouted and recruited by the Haitian Football Federation to represent Leogane at their training camp and school in Port-au-Prince. Along with six other GOALS girls, Esteri now receives a free education and a chance to play football with the national youth girls team, as long as she maintains her commitment to both education and football, and works hard on the field and in the classroom.

In a country where 80% of the population never attends high school, Esteri is on track to achieve an incredible dream. We’re proud of Esteri’s continued success, and even prouder when the Haitian Football Federation directors call us to let us know how well the GOALS girls are doing in their program!

Esteri proves that hard work and a commitment to education can bring success through football. But more than that, she is at the forefront of a growing movement of girls and women’s participation, achievement and empowerment through sports.

Esteri now serves as a role model for other boys and girls both in her village and across the country, bringing hope to the future of girls’ football and hope for the future of her village.

Esteri, on the right, shows off the trophy her team won in a national youth tournament in 2013.

Esteri, on the right, shows off the trophy her team won in a national youth tournament at the end of  2013.

Congratulations, little GOALS champion!

This post was written by GOALS coordinator Emilio Jean Paul and translated into English.  Be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more updates and photos from our sport-for-development programs on the soccer fields of Leogane, Haiti.

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