FAIRFAX, Va (DC News Now) — Milan Pierre-Jerome, a senior at George Mason, and a midfielder for the women’s soccer team, has qualified foe the Women’s World Cup in Australia.
“I wouldn’t say it has actually sunk in,” said Pierre-Jerome, who qualified with the Haiti national team, which has now qualified for their first ever World Cup, men or women.
“I knew from when I started training with them that we would be able to do this,” said Milan. “On the field, you could just tell, we would play like sisters. We just play like a family.”
“It’s just so inspiring that someone like Milan, the person that she is, the player that she is, the leader that she is, is getting this opportunity,” said George Mason women’s soccer head coach Manya Puppione. “It’s inspiring for me to want to be a better coach.”
It has been a dream for Milan since she was young. For her, making the World Cup has an even deeper meaning for her family. Her father, Reginald, was a goalkeeper for Haiti, however, was never able to make the World Cup. When Milan and her team punched their ticket, he was her first call.
“Calling him after that moment, and just sharing those emotions and hearing him cry… it was just an amazing moment,” said Milan.
Now that the Haiti women’s national team has accomplished the feat of making the biggest stage in sports, it sets the precedent for the next generation to follow suit.
“Being a little girl, I always had that goal of being able to represent my country,” said Milan. “So, us being able to do this and be the first just shows the little girls that are looking up to us that you can be apart of this. You can create this culture, [and] continue this culture.”
Haiti will open up their group stage play on July 22 against England. Kick off is scheduled for 5:30 a.m. eastern time.