ORLANDO, Fla – There is an immense sense of pride, honor and commitment that comes with playing for any national team, and that is no truer for any team than it is for the Haitian national team, who are participating in Copa America for the first time.


“It’s an honor like no other to put on this jersey,” said Haiti midfielder James Marcelin. “We realize we aren’t just playing for ourselves, but for the entire nation.”
For Haiti, a 1-0 loss to Peru in Seattle in their Copa America Centenario debut is nothing to be ashamed of, but the pain of the loss is that much greater because Haiti had a golden chance to score the equalizer in stoppage time. Forward Kervens Belfort's wide open header went wide of the goal from close range.

Belfort, a 24-year-old striker who plays his club soccer with 1461 Trabzon of the Turkish second division, has scored eight goals for Haiti. But in the 94th minute of the biggest game of his career, he missed a golden opportunity to put his nation on the board, and he broke down in tears afterwards.


“He’s a great player,” teammate Jean-Marc Alexandre said of Belfort. “He loves his nation and holds playing for his national team as the highest possible honor. So when he missed what would have been one of the biggest goals ever, he felt as if he had let down not only the team, but the entire nation.”


Haiti coach Patrice Neveu didn't blame Belfort for the loss.


“These things happen in soccer,” Neveu said.“He's stronger after that though, we are encouraging him and we are working on making him better than he originally was.”


When Belfort came into the game for Haiti in the 71st minute in relief of Duckens Nazon, he was tremendous. “The best parts of our attacking game [versus Peru] came with him on the field for us,” added Alexandre.


Neveu understands the disappointment of the loss, but quickly shifted his focus to tackling Haiti's next opponent
: Brazil.
“There was disappointment after the Peru game,” the coach said. “However, we did our best and we should have scored in the last minute. In regards to our morale, our morale is back and especially since we are playing Brazil. We must be ready to work on a good result.”