HARRISON, New Jersey – Motivation will not be a problem for the Haitian National Team FW Derrick Etienne during 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League qualifying.
In particular, it is a November 2019 date at Nicaragua that has been circled by Etienne and his Les Grenadiers teammates.
Back in March 2017 the islanders were defeated 3-0 and 4-3 on aggregate by the Central Americans in the second leg of their CFU-UNCAF playoff for a spot in the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup.
In what will be their first clash since that defeat, Etienne says that Haiti is keen to exact some revenge.
“We’re still upset about that loss,” said Etienne in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
“That Nicaragua game will be a revenge thing for us. We don’t want lightning to strike twice. We want to rectify our mistakes and show that we’re the better side,” added Etienne.
In addition to Nicaragua, Haiti will face Sint Maarten, Saint Lucia and Cuba in the CNL. Etienne feels like those matches will help Haiti take a step forward as a national team.
“The more games, the more competition, the better it is for us. We have a good group of young players that are ready to prove themselves, and this will be a great way to get experience,” said Etienne.
Currently with the New York Red Bulls, the 21-year-old made his first team debut in September 2016 and has emerged as a regular fixture in the MLS side, scoring two goals thus far during the 2018 season.
The four-time capped Etienne says his time with the Red Bulls first team has proved instrumental in his play with the national team.
“The tactics of the two teams are not the same, but the physical standards are. With the Red Bulls I’m expected to track back 70 yards to help in defense and that kind of fitness level helps me on national team duty. It gives me confidence to be a leader,” said Etienne.
For the Etiennes, the Haitian National Team is a family affair. Etienne’s grandfather, father and uncle all played with the National Team, as does his sister Danielle with the Haitian Under-20 Women’s National Team.
That’s why Etienne will never forget the feeling when he scored his first ever national team goal against Trinidad and Tobago in a January 2017 Caribbean Cup qualification playoff.
“That was a big moment for me. Knowing that my dad scored for the national team, my uncle, my grandfather, it is a special feeling that I’ll hold with me forever,” concluded Etienne.