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Montreal Impact Welcomes Steeven Saba

Experienced Unknown puts pen to paper...

SOCCER: JUL 02 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals - Haiti v Mexico
Steeven Saba controls the ball away from Mexico’s Jonathan Dos Santos during last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final in Arizona.
Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s difficult to find much information on Steeven Saba anywhere. As far as structured league football goes, convenient records only partially cover his time with Violette AC in Ligue Haitienne, although during a spell living in Miami, he was on the US MNT u18 roster, when former Columbus Crew captain Will Trapp was a team-mate.

He didn’t win his first full Haitian cap until the age of 25, but then again how many get to make their international debut in front of 40,000 fans against Argentina at La Bombonera with Messi and Aguero on the same pitch?

Saba was a half-time substitute for Fabian Vorbe, once of FC Edmonton, and was on the field to witness Aguero score and Messi complete a hat-trick. Argentina won 4-0.

He’s managed to build on that experience and his cap total now stands at a very creditable 13, all won in the last 18 months. It includes being named as a starter for each of Les Grenadiers four straight victories in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup over Bermuda, Nicaragua (in which he scored), Costa Rica and Canada. He also played 99 minutes of the narrow semi-final defeat by Mexico when Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Raul Jimenez scored the game’s only goal over 120 mins of football.

So Saba is well experienced at a decent level for a mystery man, but you get the feeling now he’s on-board at Montreal Impact, the mystique may not last too much longer.

He’ll turn 27 as the new MLS season gets underway and has accepted a 12 month contract including option years for 2021 and 2022.

Haiti v Mexico: Semifinals - 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Steeven Saba looking to grab his new opportunity with both hands...
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

In a statement released Tuesday of this week, Montreal Impact said its new acquisition, also a US citizen, will not occupy a foreign player slot.

”Steeven confirmed the qualities we saw at his home before inviting him to camp,” said Impact sports director Olivier Renard. “We are very pleased that he can join the Impact and start the second portion of training camp as a full-fledged player.”

Saba has appeared in both Impact pre-season friendlies in Florida so far and is delighted to sign his first pro-contract outside of his home country, where league football has remained in suspension since last September due to civil unrest.

“It’s amazing. It’s something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” Saba said during the Impact’s launch party last Friday. “I’m leaving Haiti where you don’t have a lot of opportunities and I had the chance... the coaches gave me the chance. I can’t be prouder.”

He added, “I’m someone that keeps on fighting.”

“I never give up what I have to do and I’m ready to fight for Montreal.”

No-one who witnessed the tenacious and committed performances of Haiti’s national team at last year’s Gold Cup, particularly that dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Canada in the quarter-finals, will be in any mood to argue...