MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — They are two of the top players in Minnesota. Both are candidates for Mr. Soccer. And both are on the same team.
But the duo of Jameson Charles and Darley Florvil that drives the success of Minneapolis Washburn High School have an incredible story much bigger than soccer.
It’s one thing to have two of the best players in the state. It’s another thing entirely to have two of the best players in the state who work so well together.
“They complement each other so well,” said Coach Aaron Percy. “Like, all the sudden, there will be plays that you kind of look at going, ‘Oh, how did they just pull that off?’”
Charles is Washburn’s star midfielder. Florvil is the Millers’ star attacker. They would each be a handful in their own right, but together they’re unstoppable.
“The set-up with Darley being kind of our goal-scorer, and Jameson kind of being our assist leader, it’s a unique connection that the two of them have,” Percy said.
And that connection is no coincidence.
“We work together so well on the field because we’ve been playing soccer together in a while. When we were back in Haiti, we used to be on the same team,” Florvil said.
They grew up in the same area of Haiti’s capitol city, Port-au-Prince.
“We grew up in a neighborhood that was not that great,” Florvil said.
“I used to live in Cite Soleil, it’s a poor country and a poor city,” Charles said.
Cite Soleil is considered one of the most impoverished and dangerous places in the world; a massive slum with open-air sewage.
“It was really hard for me to play soccer, go outside and play street soccer because it was very dangerous,” Charles said.
“And back in Haiti, soccer was one way to stay out of trouble. And we came here to be successful in life,” Florvil said.
They came to Minneapolis three years ago and enrolled at Washburn.
“There was a program called Sanneh Foundation,” Charles said.
They both now live with a host family.
“I am not only a good soccer player, also I am a good student, as well. And I work hard,” Charles said.
Their coach says the effect they’ve had on Washburn’s program has come even more so from things like that instead of soccer. That’s pretty incredible when you remember just how good at soccer they are.
“The kind of people they are. I mean, they’re such great individuals, and have been leaders in this program for pretty much the last three years,” Percy said. “And the things they do both on and off the field, the way they work in the classroom, how they lead, all these types of things has really helped our program grow.”
It’s a success story they’re still writing. Both are now being recruited for college — something that must have seemed impossible just five years ago in the slum. Two of the best players in the state, unstoppable.
“I am very humble, but I’m very proud of myself because of who I am,” Charles said.