18 Under 18: Bryane Heaberlin

National team keeper helped devastated Haitian team via donations and compassion

Updated: February 29, 2012, 10:43 AM ET
By Lizzie Haldane | ESPNHS GIRL Magazine

ESPNHS honors 18 male and 18 female teen athletes who are doing remarkable things on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Click here to read about them.

It all started with a hug. When U.S. goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin saw opposing Haitian keeper Alexandra Coby collapse in tears at the sound of the final whistle, she made her way across the pitch to embrace the distraught player. The 9-0 loss to the U.S. at the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championships in March 2010 was the last straw for the underdog team already overcome with grief from the deadly earthquake that had rocked its tiny island -- leaving most players homeless and many of them orphaned -- less than two months earlier. In that one raw, emotional moment, Heaberlin offered Coby and her teammates something they desperately needed: compassion.

"That's exactly what I'd expect from her," says Ken Roberts, Heaberlin's soccer coach at Berkeley Preparatory (Tampa, Fla.). "And it didn't end there for her -- she found a way to do more." Two weeks after consoling Alexandra on the field, Heaberlin founded Many Hearts One Goal, a foundation designed to raise money to foot the bill for the 20-person Haitian team and six staffers to fly to Orlando and stay for two weeks to compete in a tournament that July. Not only did Heaberlin collect about $250,000 from family, friends, local and national businesses, including Disney, she also pulled together an extra $45,000 in scholarship funds for the girls and personally delivered 800 pounds of donated supplies (food, toiletries, soccer equipment, etc.) to the Haitian Football Federation.

Heaberlin, 17, is as serious about soccer as she is about giving back. In December 2011, she graduated from high school a semester early so that she could focus on qualifying for and playing in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan this August. By January, she was already attending training camps with the country's top 30 college stars. She and two others were the only ones not in college yet, but that'll change next fall when Heaberlin suits up for soccer powerhouse University of North Carolina. While Heaberlin trains, she will continue to work with the Haitian girls' team to fulfill the promises she made to herself while consoling Coby that fateful day in 2010.