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Etienne driven to succeed with Haiti, NY Red Bulls
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New York Red Bulls midfielder Derrick Etienne (white jersey) shown in action against visiting Club America on July 6, 2016, in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo courtesy of the New York Red Bulls)

HANOVER, New Jersey -- Derrick Etienne will get an opportunity to represent Haiti on Sunday, when it meets Argentina in an under-23 international friendly in Boca Raton, Florida. He hopes that the high-level encounter will take him a step closer to his ultimate goal: the full national team.

"I am looking very forward to it, playing Argentina, a very good squad with some great players," Etienne told CONCACAF.com. "It's going to be a great game, a great showcase for the country."

Prior to Copa America Centenario, the 19-year-old midfielder had an opportunity to train with Haiti after he was named to the team's provisional roster. The experience certainly motivated him further to follow in his father Derrick and uncle Darrell's footsteps as Haitian internationals.

Etienne said he "would love to" play for Haiti.

"Being able to be selected and go train with them was great," he added. "I remember my dad, how much of a competitor he was. He was as competitive as I am. The competitor in me really wants to make that debut."

Though he did not participate in any Copa matches, just training with the senior squad was an eye-opener.

"It was amazing," remarked Etienne, noting there were players who perform in Belgium, France, Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League on the team.

"Just to be with a different group of guys; how some guys from Europe play, how some guys from here play. it was great," he expressed. "One guy that really I took pride in learning from was [Caen forward] Jeff Louis. He's very dynamic on the ball. He knows when to get the ball moving."

Etienne decided to forgo his final three years at the University of Virginia to turn pro. He hasn't featured in any MLS matches yet, but has acquitted himself well for Red Bulls II in the United Soccer League.

Two weeks ago, Etienne made his first-team debut in the 2-0 friendly win over two-time defending Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League winner Club America.

"That's my ultimate goal - to start for the first team," Etienne concluded. "Being able to play against Club America, even though they were in their preseason, it was just an amazing feeling to put on a first team jersey and play in front of the fans."

 
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