Haitian Teens Ditch Soccer Team in NYC

13 players enroute to youth World Cup flee JFK during stopover; some reappear
By Jesse Andrews,  Newser User
Posted Jun 14, 2007 5:37 AM CDT
Terminal 5   ((c) Doug Letterman)

(Newser) – The bulk of a Haitian youth team en route to the under-17 World Cup in South Korea vanished during a stopover at JFK early yesterday, the AP reports. Thirteen out of 18 went missing; by the late afternoon, five or six had returned to the airport and rejoined team officials.

Haiti's consul general speculated that adults, perhaps the children's parents, helped engineer a defection attempt, and threatened prosecution. Soccer has been resurgent in Haiti lately; this was the first time the under-17s had qualified for the World Cup in the institution's history.