Club: Stade Lavallois
After a strong qualifying campaign, Haiti found themselves in a curious situation: they’d qualified for a major international tournament. Yes, the Haitians once qualified for a World Cup (in 1974), and once won the CONCACAF Gold Cup (in 1973), but recent history suggested the team would struggle. So how surprising must it have been that once they got there, they thrived? On the back of Duckens Nazon, the Haitian national team surpassed all expectations, making their way to the Quarterfinals before falling to Jamaica 1-0.
Nazon found the back of the net twice during the group stage — first against Panama in a 1-1 draw, and again in a 1-0 win against Honduras, allowing the plucky Caribbean team to sneak into the knockout rounds. The striker is small by most standards, but at 5’9, he’s learned how to use his speed to his advantage. With his help, his club currently sit 14th in the French second division.
As unlikely as it may seem, Nazon will be a force to be reckoned with up top for the length of the tournament. Let’s hope opposing keepers take note, for their own sakes.
How to cite this article: “The Young Guns” Written by Shaker Samman (2016), Copa America Centenario 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/copa-america-centenario-2016-guide/the-young-guns/ (accessed on (date)).