From St. Kitts and Nevis to the NPSL: The Stellar Story of Ehjayson Henry
Georgia Revolution FC forward Ehjayson Henry is one of the most accomplished players in the NPSL. He has represented his country at the international level. He has received numerous accolades during a decorated collegiate career. And he’s starred on three quality NPSL squads. Even though he is just 25 years old, he is viewed as a veteran leader that had tremendous experience.
He’s an incredibly versatile athlete that can outperform others at a number of positions.
“I am a forward that can play on the either side as an outside midfielder as well,” Henry said. “My style is based on speed and taking defenders on in the attacking third and the occasional run from defense into the attacking third. My best position would be left wing as it gives me space to be dangerous and take guys on using my speed.”
Henry has been an absolute star for the St. Kitts and Nevis National Team program. He was the captain of U-17 St. Kitts and Nevis National Team from 2007-2008. He moved up to the U-20 St. Kitts and Nevis National Team in 2009-2010 before joining the country’s U-23 side a year later. In 2014 he would be invited to join the senior national team for St. Kitts and Nevis. Overall it was an amazing experience for the talented player, one that provided many benefits.
“Exposure would be the greatest gain for me,” Henry admitted. “While playing for St. Kitts and Nevis growing up, we travelled throughout the Caribbean playing in various tournaments which gave us valuable exposure.”
Henry played for some of the country’s top coaches including Lenny Lake and Pedro Hazel. Yet he views his father, Edward Henry, as his primary and most important coach. Even to this day he watches all the games and provides his insight and recommendations.
His greatest soccer memory came from his time with the national team.
“I think my best memory would be playing with the St. Kitts and Nevis National U-23 in the Olympic qualifiers back in 2011 when we played Cuba. It was a year we had a great squad and thought we could make it to the Olympics and were playing Cuba and I got subbed on in the 78th minute or thereabout and I just recall getting in and being aggressive on attack helping to make Cuba work a bit more defensively. We eventually got a free kick which was played in and we were able to equalize. The feeling after that game was one to remember for me. It is always a good feeling representing your country but, in that moment, where we tied, giving us a great chance to advance had a great aftermath experience that I will always remember.”
Playing in St. Kitts and Nevis is an experience all its own according to Henry. It’s much different than playing here in the States.
“Football is St. Kitts and Nevis is very fun. The island is small, so you often know the players you are playing against very well which adds a more competitive and fun perspective to it. Our playing style is fast paced and aggressive and players now seem to add more flare during the run of play but also with their celebrations. Another cool component is the fans. Normally, you would play for your village team which builds relationships between the team and the villagers and motivates you to play well because of the support they give you. In addition, because the fans now know you well, they can also be a bit more critical and when they see you off the field would not hesitate to share their thoughts on how you played, share advice or give encouraging words for you moving forward.”
He began his college career at Penn State University in 2010. He made four appearances for the Nittany Lions as part of a successful season that included appearances in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. He would eventually transfer to Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
At Mercer, Henry came into his own as a player, becoming a star for the Bears.
“Ehjay was a prolific attacking player during his time at Mercer,” Mercer University men’s soccer head coach Brad Ruzzo added. “He led our team two seasons in a row in points and three seasons in goals. He is fast, athletic, and powerful and had the ability to take players on 1 vs. 1 to create things for himself and others. On top of that, he was great team leader for our program and was well respected by his peers.”
Henry finished his Mercer career with 17 goals and seven assists for a total of 41 points. He would earn a number of awards including First Team All-Conference (2012-2013), TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week (2013), and Atlantic Sun Player of the Week honors (2012-2013).
His next stop would be playing for Jacksonville United and Jacksonville Armada FC U-23. He made quite an impression once again according to Armada Youth Academy Director Pat Cannon.
“Ehjayson first came to the team in 2013 when the team was called Jacksonville United. I recruited him to come in the summer before his senior year at Mercer. That summer we won our division before losing to Richmond in the playoffs. Ehjay had a great summer playing up top for the most part and filing in at left back near the end of the season. Ehjay was a fantastic player and person. Ehjay came back last summer and played another season with the Armada U23s. Ehjay was now a little older than his last spell with us and played a more leadership role in the team of mostly young college players. Ehjay was always a team first player, did whatever that was needed for the team. He had a great few seasons with us and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Henry learned a lot during his time in Jacksonville.
“With Jacksonville Armada U-23 I played as an attacker and also had moments playing as an outside back. There, I was able to learn more about playing in the outside back position and the tactical aspects of playing in that role.”
Henry would go on to participate in the 2015 NPSL Combine, which proved to be yet another valuable experience in his career.
“The 2015 NPSL Combine was a great experience. The opportunity to play in front of coaches and scouts was great because these persons were able to directly critique and share their thoughts on how I played. They were able to point out areas where they think I could improve and areas they think I do well which is valuable because the persons who are looking for talent are telling you what they want to see. So ideally all is left to do is master what they are looking for and put it on display.”
He was later invited to preseason camp with the Charleston Battery in 2016. He would eventually land in the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League (ADASL) with VaHi Football Club where he became one of the league’s top scorers. His talent and performance in the local league helped him step up to a higher level with NPSL side Georgia Revolution FC.
“Our staff first scouted Ehjay playing in the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League against our reserves,” Georgia Revolution FC GM Eric Morrison stated. “He is a two-time Golden Boot winner in the ADASL and scored four goals against our reserves in two games. He is a special player and we are very excited he decided to join the Revs this NPSL season. His leadership both on the field and in training can’t be understated. Ehjay has both the skill and work ethic to play at a higher level and I hope he gets that opportunity.”
Georgia Revolution FC head coach Steo Magennis agreed that Henry is a special talent.
“Ehjay has been an integral part of our squad this season. He’s a very dynamic forward player. He is technically gifted and his athleticism is a nightmare for defenders. I’ve no doubt he would be a huge impact at the next level.”
Henry has a number of personal and team goals, meaning there is a lot of work left to be done in the 2018 NPSL season.
“My short-term goal is to now win the playoffs this season and then go on to win the national championship. My long-term goal is to develop as much as I can as a player in order to keep playing at a high level.”
Georgia Revolution FC are currently in the midst of a race towards the playoffs as the club sits in fourth place in the Southeast Conference with a 5-5-3 record. It’s been a wild and competitive season in the Southeast with nearly all of the teams still in the postseason mix with just a few games left to play.
Thankfully the Revs have a secret weapon in Ehjayson Henry, a gamechanging player that could prove the difference for the Georgia side this postseason. He’s seen a lot in his young career and is ready to reach his true potential as one of the top players in all of the NPSL.
Photo Credit: Ken Switay