Derrick Etienne Jr. envisioned playing for the then-New York MetroStars when he was a kid playing soccer at Eastside Park in Paterson.
Now, he’s been part of the New York Red Bulls organization for 10 years.
In May, he scored the game-winning goal against international sensation Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s Los Angeles Galaxy squad.
Etienne started off at the Red Bulls’ U-14 level, playing his way up to their U-18 level, where he won their U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase and was named a captain.
In four seasons with the development team, Etienne scored 40 goals. He then enrolled at the University of Virginia, where he earned ACC All-Rookie honors.
In 2015, he signed with the Red Bulls through Major League Soccer’s “Homegrown Player Rule,” which allows teams to sign local players from their development academies.
“Soccer is the sport I’ve played for a long time and it has helped me progress for my future,” Etienne said. “I’ve been playing for the Red Bulls’ academy for a long time.”
Etienne represents Haiti in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Nations League. He most recently helped Haiti reach the semifinals at the 2019 Gold Cup.
The Red Bulls play home games in Harrison, just 15 miles south of Paterson.
Etienne is still close to the Paterson community. His father, Derrick Etienne Sr., is a Pastor and has a foundation, The Etienne Family Foundation, that gives clothes to the homeless during the winter. His father also played soccer for Haiti’s national team.
“We give them all the winter clothes they need such as jackets, sweaters, hats, and scarves,” Etienne said of the foundation.