On Wednesday we wrote about the Trinidad & Tobago women's soccer team, which arrived in the U.S. for World Cup qualifying with just about $500 to its name. That wasn't nearly enough to cover the food, travel, and equipment needed for the next three weeks. But fans and colleagues have stepped up to help, perhaps none more surprising than Haiti's own women's team.
T&T coach Randy Waldrum, who's not getting paid, was shocked when the team showed up in such dire financial straits. So he put out the call on Twitter, and he made it very specific: he noted that the team's immediate problem was how to buy lunch.
"I thought, 'I've got an hour to find meals, to get us through the day, let alone the next five or six days,'" he said. "The only way I knew to do it was to send the tweet out, and I knew I couldn't say, 'Hey, T&T is in need of money, will you help donate?"
Donations began rolling in. The site KeeperNotes opened up a Paypal account that raised nearly $10,000 in eight hours, and is still accepting pledges. But Waldrum never would have guessed his plea would have fallen on the ears of another team here for World Cup qualifying, one with financial issues of its own.
Haiti's team also heard Waldrum's plea from its training camp in South Bend, Indiana. The team had been running on donations and money raised from T-shirt sales and other fundraising. It had $1,316 in its account.
The team, which has had its own financial struggles, decided to give it all to Trinidad and Tobago.
"My players saw on social media the difficulties faced by T&T players and approached me about what can we do to help. I was stunned," Haiti coach Shek Borkowski said in announcing the donation on the team's Facebook page. "They were very animated about helping so I will do as they asked."
That $1,316 was not just a token gesture. Borkowski said he believed the Haitian team would be forced to fold if it did not qualify for the World Cup. But that was before the Clinton Foundation announced its intention to provide long-term financial support the Haitian women's team.
So it looks like this is one of those stories that will have happy-ish endings all around. Still hope the USWNT demolishes Trinidad and Tobago next Wednesday.
Haiti pledges money to Trinidad and Tobago soccer [Associated Press]