Opont forced to leave Haiti, welcomed by team in Katy


While scrimmaging at practice, senior forward Youri Opnot dribbles the ball during the varsity soccer period. This is Youri’s third year playing at Cinco.

Madeline Brisson, Staff Writer

On Jan. 12, 2010 an earthquake left Port-au-Prince, Haiti devastated. Houses and buildings crumbled; over 200,000 people were killed and around 300,000 were injured. With chaos and wreckage ravaging the streets, it was clear the earthquake would leave not only a damaging effect on Haiti’s capital city, but would also leave a haunting and unforgettable impact on those who were there to experience it.

Senior Youri Opont moved to Katy from Port-au-Prince for his sophomore year, the month after the earthquake took place. Leaving behind his parents, he arrived in America in order to escape the trauma of the earthquake. Rebuilding at Cinco Ranch was an adjustment for Opont, but he managed—he had no other choice.

“I moved for school purposes because my school collapsed,” Opont said. “Schools are harder [in Port-au-Prince] than here because your Pre-AP is like our academic. [Also], they teach in French instead of English.”

Opont earned a spot at the forward position on the varsity soccer team, and found the team to be a great way to make friends as a new, foreign student. The team’s diverse cultures made it easy for him to find his place on the team.

“The soccer team was really open-minded,” Opont said. “Most of them were exchange students also from different countries, so they understood where I was coming from, and they were friendly.”

There are many players that come from outside of the United States on this year’s varsity boys’ soccer team. Haiti, England, Mexico; those are just a few of the places that make up the players’ homelands.

“There are a lot of different cultures on the team,” senior defender Jack Woolsey said. “I think that really helps the team gel, since we all come from different backgrounds but are all there for the same thing.”

A team shares a familial bond, and with so much time spent together, they know each other best.

“He’s one of the guys that everyone loves,” Woolsey said. “He’s quiet but really witty, in a really good way. He’s always out on the field practicing to get better and is always trying hard.”

Coming from Haiti, Opont found he missed the beaches of Port-au-Prince most. He did not seem to find Katy too drastically different from where he had lived before, but there were of course slight differences that he adjusted to.

“People here use their car for everything, and in Haiti you can walk or use your car also, so I think that’s the main difference,” Opont said. “[Also], here [in Katy] you don’t have any beaches. Galveston is really bad. [In Haiti] you have nice places to go if you want to go to the beach.”

The team set their pre-season goals high, but as the season dragged on they did not meet up to their expectations. In February, head coach John Crow identified the team’s main challenge as conistency, and they concluded their season with a final record of 3-7-3, placing seventh in districts.