New York Red Bulls midfielder Derrick Etienne has been included Haiti's roster for upcoming 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifying matches, the team announced. Haiti plays French Guiana on Nov. 9 and Saint Kitts & Nevis on Nov. 13 during the FIFA international break.
These matches were originally scheduled to be played last month, but the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew forced them to be postponed. Caribbean Cup qualifying doesn't allow for draws, so Haiti needs to win both matches to finish in first place in Group 2 and advance to the final round. Group winners earn a spot in the 2017 Caribbean Cup (June 22-June 25) and the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup (July 7-July 26).
Etienne made one MLS appearance for the Red Bulls this season, in a match against D.C. United in September. He also led the club's reserve squad to a USL championship. Etienne is still eligible to play for the United States national team, but any appearance for Haiti will cap tie him. He appears set for an expanded role with the Red Bulls next season, most likely in a substitute role, as the club is always looking for a spark of creativity in the final third.
It's been a rapid rise for Etienne over the past two years. The former Red Bulls Academy standout was ignored by U.S. Soccer and kept on the backburner by Haiti's youth national teams. However, the 19-year old used two strong seasons in USL to earn a Homegrown deal in 2015 and ascend to senior international football in 2016.