Tuesday 20 August 2019, 11:25

'Didychrislito': The Haiti earthquake had a massive impact on me

  • 'Didychrislito' represents New York City FC at competitive FIFA

  • Escaped the devastating earthquake in Haiti as a teenager

  • Talks building a new life in USA and his rise to eChampions League winner

Chris 'Didychrislito' Holly’s life changed forever in 2010. A devastating earthquake struck his native Haiti that year when he was just 13 years old.

The Caribbean nation was left reeling with an estimated three million people being affected by the destruction while the death toll reached 230,000, according to the Haitian government.

Though Holly survived and eventually moved to USA to build a new life, some of his friends and family were not as fortunate.

"The earthquake in Haiti had a massive impact on my life," he said. "I lost some close friends and family members. To move from Haiti to USA so young – new school, new culture and everything, it was crazy. But I learned how to cope with it."

A new beginning

After the earthquake, Holly moved to Long Island, New York to live with his uncle. It was there that his unbreakable love for football and EA SPORTS FIFA continued to flourish, something which first developed with his brother and friends back home in Haiti.

“I always played FIFA for fun as a hobby after school with friends,” he said. “I never thought competitive FIFA was going to be this big but I’m glad it is.”

The eventual growth witnessed established football clubs signing players in order to represent them at tournaments across the world.

Having made a name for himself as one of the leading PlayStation players in North America, Holly was picked up by New York City FC in 2017, representing the place where he built a new life after the devastation of the earthquake.

"I’m proud and honoured to represent NYCFC," he said. "I’m very happy they picked me and have faith in me the last two years."

Holly’s biggest success in the blue of NYCFC came during the FIFA 19 season when he made history by becoming the first winner of the eChampions League.

Sixty-four players initially gathered in Manchester in April and that number was narrowed to eight in late May in Madrid ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final.

'Didychrislito' overcame formidable opposition to get his hands on a staggering USD 100,000 prize and parade the inaugural trophy at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano before kick-off at the UEFA Champions League final.

“Being the first eChampions League winner has been a blessing,” he said. “I never thought I’d win such a massive event. Being at the stadium and lifting the trophy was such a surreal experience.

"I was very nervous before it happened but once you get in the groove, you can relax and stay calm.”

What made Holly’s eChampions League victory even sweeter was the fact he got to share the moment with his father. “My biggest inspiration in life has been my Dad," he said. "He’s a hard worker and very intelligent and all around a great father.

“He lets me play video games for a living,” he smiled. “I’m very grateful. Hopefully I can make him proud.”