Athlete from Abroad Spotlight: Chloé Cantave


Chloé Cantave

Sedona Smith, Staff Writer 

Chloé Cantave is a 19-year-old freshman, an economics major, a first-year member of Governors State’s women’s soccer team and the second in the Phoenix’s series profiling GSU athletes from abroad. 

Cantave was born in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. It is the most populated part of the country, but she said it looks nothing like Chicago — after all, Cantave notes, it is a third-world country. When asked what she missed the most about home, she did not hesitate to say “family and friends.” However, she also noted that “the food [in Haiti] is way better than here.” 

Growing up, she attended European school in Haiti. According to Cantave, France has developed an educational “project,” placing French schools in every country in the world, including Haiti. The French school she attended was founded as part of this project, and Chloé attended it throughout elementary and high school. Because of these experiences, she is trilingual, speaking French, English, and Haitian Creole.   

Surprisingly, Cantave grew up playing tennis, not soccer. Although she didn’t play, she still grew up around soccer. She says that many of her family members played and that they would watch soccer as a family on the weekends. 

“It was always my number one passion,” Cantave said, “but there were never really soccer [opportunities] for girls in Haiti.” However, she was eventually able to pick up the game at age 15, when she began playing for FC Toro, a youth soccer program in Haiti.  

Although Cantave got a late start in the game, she credits the rigour of the program for her success and growth as a player. In fact, she told me that over half the girls on her FC Toro team went on to compete in the Under-17 World Cup. “Playing with them is what made me a good player,” she said. She also credited much of her success to the encouragement and support of her family.  

Inspired by her older brother who earned a soccer scholarship in the United States, Cantave initiated contact with coaches from all over the U.S. She created a highlight video, emailed copies of it to dozens of coaches, and eagerly awaited their responses. Governors State offered her a scholarship opportunity that was difficult to turn down. Plus, Chloé said, she was drawn to the size and atmosphere of the Chicagoland. 

Although I interpreted Chloé’s seeking out of recruiters as a sign of her determination, she doesn’t necessarily consider it a positive thing. Cantave says that “Haiti does not have the best infrastructures to help their athletes reach their best level so you really must go out of your way to find or create your own opportunities,” which is exactly what she did for herself. “It’s actually a sad situation,” she says, “because there’s so much talent going to waste.” 

Cantave is inspired to change the state of athletics in Haiti. Chloé told me that “one of [her] goals in the future is . . . to find a way to help those athletes reach their top level and goals.” 

Unfortunately, Cantave has yet to step on the field as a Jaguar. During the first practice of the season, she injured her knee to the point that surgery was necessary. Because her brother lives in Florida, she travelled there for her surgery and is still there for her recovery. Although she will not be able to compete this season, she hopes to be fully recovered by the next. 

Cantave is certainly excited about next season. She described the team as “a work in progress,” but that everyone on the team is motivated and gets along well. Her goal for next season is to secure a play-off spot. 

Cantave says that she is likely to continue her education after earning her Bachelor’s degree. She hopes to pursue graduate school in Spain. Although she would like to move back to her home country eventually, she says the decision is a difficult one. The country is brimming with political instability and concerns for personal safety. Port-au-Prince in particular is known for violent crime, to the point that warnings have been issued to travelers by the U.S. government.  

“I don’t see it getting better,” Cantave said about the dangers in her country. “But if it does, I would like to go back and work there.”  

Her desire to eventually return to her country despite its current instability effectively communicated the respect and adoration she holds for Haiti.   

Chloé’s self-determination, confidence, and passion for her sport are inspiring. These traits make her a strong candidate for success, both on the field and off. The Governors State community is, without a doubt, wishing her a speedy recovery as they wait to witness her debut as a Jaguar.