Melchie Dumornay: Haiti's teenage sensation out to cause England problems at the 2023 Women's World Cup

Melchie Dumornay Haiti 2023
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The 19-year-old is set to join Lyon this summer once she has shown the world just why she is regarded as one of the game's biggest talents

When GOAL first spoke to Melchie Dumornay, Haiti’s gifted teenager, she was still at home, soon to make the move to France to join talent factory Reims. As the interview came to a close, Dumornay, still only 17 years old at this point, outlined her ambitions for the future. Her first? To play for Lyon, the eight-time European champions, one day. Fast forward, two years and she’s set to tick that off her career bucket list, having joined the French giants this summer.

Her second aim was to win individual awards at the "next level", in order to "prove" herself. When the French league announced the winners of its annual awards in mid-May, as Dumornay's final season with Reims came to a close, the 19-year-old was named Best Young Player and also included in the Team of the Season, which featured just three names not representing Lyon or Paris Saint-Germain.

The final goal was quite different. “If God allows me to have a lot of success in the future, which translates into financial success, I want to be able to open a sort of academy back home in Haiti to provide opportunities to players in Haiti that I didn't have myself,” she explained, exuding maturity beyond her years.

“In Haiti, there are so many talents, not only in soccer, that just don't get a chance. I got that chance to be in an academy, but there are top players and top talents everywhere. It's important to try and put an eye on Haiti, to not miss out on so many talents. I hope that one day more people get the chance to get out of there.”

With her yet to celebrate her 20th birthday, it might take a little time for Dumornay to be able to box that one off. But she did something else to help Haiti this year - she scored the goal that sent her country to its first ever Women’s World Cup. It’s not an academy, but it’s a huge stage for many of her team-mates to make a name for themselves and prove, just as their talismanic teenager says, that there is a lot of talent in the Caribbean nation.

As Haiti prepare to make history at the tournament, pooled in Group D with England, Denmark and China, GOAL explains why Dumornay is so, so special…

  1. Where it began

    Where it began

    Dumornay started playing football from a young age in Haiti and would quickly make a name for herself in the national league, with AS Tigresses, and in the youth national teams.

    For Haiti, she was often several years younger than the rest of her team-mates, playing at the CONCACAF Girls' Under-15 Championship aged 12 and the CONCACAF Women's U20 Championship aged 14.

    At the latter, she played a key role in helping her country to finish third and qualify for the U20 Women's World Cup, becoming the first Caribbean nation to do so. She starred so much, even, that she was named to the tournament’s best XI.

  2. The big break

    The big break

    It was at that U20 World Cup that Dumornay announced herself to a wider audience and, significantly, Reims manager Amandine Miquel. Still only 14 years old at the time, the youngster had to get special authorisation to play at the tournament, but she still managed to stand-out despite being so much younger than the majority of players on show.

    It was against Germany, in Haiti’s final group game, that Dumornay caught the eye of Miquel and her staff. “She was way above the other players,” the coach told GOAL last year. “We knew we needed that player.”

    It would be “hard” to get her to Reims because the club had to wait until she was 18 years old. Before she celebrated that milestone birthday, she’d had a trial at Lyon, too, who she impressed massively.

    But Miquel stayed in regular contact with the teenager and she believes that is what “made the difference” in the end, as well as the development proposition the club could offer. “She knew she would be in a good championship but she would still be an important player and not just a substitute.”

    It was the move that brought one of the world’s biggest and brightest young talents to a top European league.

  3. How it’s going

    How it’s going

    Dumornay has now joined eight-time European champions Lyon after taking her game to the next level with Reims, scoring 18 goals and providing 11 assists in just 33 league matches with the club. That form won her the Best Young Player award at the end of the 2022-23 season and a place in the Team of the Season, giving her a great send off.

    Her move to Lyon was announced back in January, to come in the summer when her contract at Reims expired. A month later, Dumornay fired her country to its first ever Women’s World Cup, scoring twice in the 2-1 win over Chile.

    She’s now set to star in Australia and New Zealand this summer and has a chance to showcase herself on the biggest stage in the sport. It’s going quite well, then.

  4. Biggest strengths

    Biggest strengths

    Where to start? Dumornay is a very intelligent footballer, which helps inform her decision-making, she’s technically outstanding, which makes her execution superb, and she has all the physical attributes to have been able to make a splash in the senior game at such a young age.

    “She has all the required skills despite her age,” Reims team-mate Sonia Ouchene told GOAL last year. “I'm never surprised by players. There are really very, very few things that amaze me, and she is one of them, especially because of her age.

    “Athletically, she is powerful and fast. In the game, she's very clever. Technically, she has everything you need, although of course she's going to improve in every aspect. She is a very complete player and she showed it very quickly on the field.”

    Dumornay is also extremely versatile. She arrived at Reims as a midfielder capable of playing any role in the middle of the park, such is the wide variety of skills she has. But Miquel would also deploy her as a centre-forward at times, with her having the ability to out-muscle, out-run and out-think defenders. That she is great at bringing others into the game also proved a big asset in this position.

    On top of it all, she’s a player her team-mates love to have around, one who makes jokes, has fun and brings positivity to any dressing room.

  5. Room for improvement

    Room for improvement

    At 19 years old, there’s still so much room for growth for Dumornay. That’s the most exciting thing about her. The teenager has a positive attitude towards improving, too, telling GOAL just before her move to France: “The first thing I want to develop is playing with both feet. Then, the physical aspects - become a stronger player, become more solid, take better care of my body as well as I become more professional.

    “I want to become a monster on the field, in a way that nobody can stop me. It's going to take some work still, but those are the main points that I'm trying to develop in the coming years.”

    She’s certainly made big strides towards doing all of the above. Now, it’s about continuing to make her mark as these bigger stages come along - such as the Women’s World Cup or, with Lyon next season, the Women’s Champions League.

  6. The next… Versatile superstar?

    The next… Versatile superstar?

    It's incredibly hard to pick any players that are similar to Dumornay, to be honest. This is a footballer who can operate in any role in midfield, such is her well-rounded game, but also as a centre-forward. Above all, she can already play very well in each position.

    There are a number of players at the highest level who can be that versatile, be it someone like Germany's Alex Popp or United States women's national team star Crystal Dunn, but none with a similar profile to Dumornay.

    It will be interesting to see if she maintains that adaptability throughout her career or whether she nails down a particular position over the next few years and focuses on being the best she can be in that one role instead.

  7. What comes next?

    What comes next?

    Well, first and foremost it is the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Dumornay’s Haiti have a very tough group, featuring European champions England, Euro 2017 runners-up Denmark and the Asian champions, China. Still, the teenager will hope that she and her nation can give a good account of themselves as they grace this huge stage for the first time.

    It’ll be a fantastic experience for her to then take into the upcoming season, which will be her first with Lyon. Dumornay has long spoken about how playing for the French giants would be a dream, and she’ll get to live that out after the World Cup ends.

    Establishing herself in Lyon’s starting XI will be her first task and then it’ll be about proving she can make her mark at the very highest level, helping the team to win major titles. Few will doubt that she can do that.

    “I think she's at 30 percent of her level right now,” Miquel told GOAL of the Haitian star midway through her first season at Reims. “For me, this is going to be one of the best players in the world in the next few years. She's going to continue to improve physically, technically and tactically. We'll do our best to get her through those steps and then she will sign to a big Champions League team and we will be very happy to watch her.”

    Plenty more will be excited to watch Dumornay take that next step in her career, too. She’s just getting started.