Commerce City, Colo. (August 29, 2011) - For Rapids goalkeeper Steward Ceus, being called up by the Haiti National Team this week presents a more meaningful opportunity than simply playing in the two World Cup Qualifying matches. Born and raised in West Haverstraw, New York, Ceus will be making his first visit to Haiti, the country where both his mother and father were born and raised.
"I’ve wanted to go to Haiti my whole life," Ceus told ColoradoRapids.com before departing. "But there’s been a lot of stuff going on there where my parents felt it was unsafe to go. I’m so blessed for this opportunity to go and get a chance to go visit the country where my parents were raised and my ancestors are all from. “
Ceus joins the Haiti team as they begin World Cup qualifying with a home match in Port-Au-Prince against the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 2 and against Curaçao on September 6 in Willemstad, Curaçao.
At the World Cup qualifying draw held in Brazil in July, 24 CONCACAF teams were divided into six groups of four for the first stage of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Haiti was placed in Group F along with the U.S. Virgin Islands, Curaçao, and Antigua & Barbuda. The six group winners will advance to the 12-team semifinal round with the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Cuba which will begin in 2012.
"I’m excited to go and have another chance to represent Haiti," Ceus said. "It’s going to be another opportunity for me to keep playing and represent the country."
The third year keeper first represented Haiti at the 2010 Caribbean Cup in Martinique, where he posted a 1-1-1 record in starting all three matches against Guyana, St. Vincent /Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.
The 24-year-old departed for Haiti after helping the Rapids' reserve team shut out the Chicago Fire reserve 2-0 Sunday morning. It was his second positive result of the week, having made his season debut with the first-team last Tuesday in a 1-1 tie against Real Espana in Honduras.
"I thought he was immense," Rapids head coach Gary Smith said of the 6'6" goalkeeper after the draw. "He’s a man-mountain who’s starting to really show the sort of qualities that we all knew he had."
Ceus, who has served as Matt Pickens' backup in all 28 regular season games, will rejoin the Rapids ahead of their next match on Friday, September 9 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.
WORLD CUP DRAW SETS FIRST ROUND OF QUALIFYING (CONCACAF.COM)