For Haiti’s Millien, the journey happily continues

(ABOVE) The career of Haiti midfielder Pascal Millien (#11) has taken him to clubs all over the world.

FRISCO, Texas -- Pascal Millien’s football journey has been like no other in the CONCACAF region.

He’s gone from Haiti to Florida to Ireland and Bangladesh and now he’s in a Dallas suburb with the Haitian national team as it prepares to meet Panama in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup opener on Tuesday night.

“It’s crazy. It’s never been my plan. It’s God’s plan,” Millien expressed after Haiti’s training session Sunday afternoon. “As a player you always want to travel and I love to travel, but to have such a journey like I’ve had, it means so much. I’m just so thankful. I never had any problems while I was away. It was all good experiences and that carried me on.”

Millien currently competes for Jacksonville Armada FC, an expansion team in the North American Soccer League. It is his second stint in the league after playing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2010. Florida is Millien’s second home after moving there from Haiti as a teenager.

His coach at the time was Paul Dalglish, who spent much of his own playing career in the United Kingdom. When it was time for Millien’s contact to be extended with Tampa Bay, he told Dalglish it was his dream to play in Europe.

“He said, ‘I’ve got a connection over in Ireland and do you want to go there’,” Millien said.

The 29-year-old midfielder didn’t give it a second thought. He went to League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers, where he had instant success.

He helped Sligo win a league championship, as well as the FAI Cup, and competed in the 2012/13 Europa League against FC Spartak Trnava.

“I had one of the best experiences of my life as a professional athlete – won the league, played Champions League qualification, played in the Europa League,” Millien remarked. “That’s the best moment of my life. I’m thankful.”

Millien also became an immediate legend with the Sligo fans.

“The fans loved me there. I think it was just my humbleness,” Millien continued. “I play for the fans pretty much. They are the ones who pay their money to come and watch us play. They’ve been unbelievable to me. When I was in the street, they were always recognizing me, taking pictures. It feels good.”

From Ireland, it was off to Bangladesh for Millien, who scored three goals in seven league matches with Sheikh Russel KC and played in the AFC President’s Cup, netting two goals and recording five assists in helping lead the club to the tournament final.

It was a short, but meaningful experience for Millien.

“It was just different. The transition was really crazy,” he commented. “When I went there, I liked the living style of the people, they love the game, but most importantly they love people.”

Millien said he is loving his time with Jacksonville, which finished sixth among the league’s 11 teams in the NASL’s spring season.

“They’re a brand new team, but they have a winning mentality,” Millien said. “It’s a good organization and I think it’s going well. I can’t complain right now. I’m happy.”

Millien has made 22 appearances as a member of the Haitian national team since 2006 and helped Les Grenadiers clinch a second consecutive Gold Cup berth after a third-place finish at the 2014 Caribbean Cup.

“This is a big tournament for us, especially since the last Caribbean Cup,” Millien said. “We want to make the best of this. For most of the players, it’s the same mentality we have right now. We’re going to do the best we can.”