Former Chattanooga women’s soccer player Donna-Kay Henry recently signed a contract to play professional soccer for the Switzerland club FC Neunkirch.
“She’s been working for this for years,” UTC head coach J.D. Kyzer said. “It’s a dream that a lot of people have, but few get to make it happen.”
The 2012 UTC graduate, Henry, the school’s only four-time All-Conference selection, will depart from her home in New York on Thursday and head for Switzerland, where she’ll join longtime friend Nicole McClure, formerly a goalkeeper for South Florida, on FC Neunkirch.
“I saw Nicole when I went home to New York and told her that I was trying to continue playing and she said she’d let me know if anything came up with her team, the FC Neunkirch,” Henry said. “A few weeks later she said her coach was looking for more players and he contacted me via email.”
Henry was subsequently offered a spot on the team, which she accepted.
“I hope this gives me an opportunity to play and showcase my talent,” Henry said. “I want to continue to get better and be able to play for the National team, either the U.S. or Great Britain.”
Henry, who was born in Jamaica, moved to New York when she was seven-years-old, and she holds dual citizenship with the United States and Jamaica-an independent country with Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II serving as the Jamaican monarch.
“Being so far away from home will be a bit difficult since I’ve never been anywhere except the U.S. and Jamaica,” she said. “I don’t know what to expect, but I’m excited to go.”
“Playing overseas can open doors for her everywhere,” Kyzer added. “Other countries are more supportive of soccer. For them, soccer is pretty much a way of life.”
Upon arriving at UTC, Henry’s speed and ball handling skills quickly made her an impact player in the Southern Conference. She finished her career No. 2 all-time at UTC in points (78), goals (31), assists (16) and shots attempted (213).
As a sophomore, Henry scored a school-record four goals against USC Upstate in the Gardner-Webb Border Classic, and she was name that tournament’s MVP as a senior in 2011. Henry also recorded a hat trick during her junior season, finding the net three times against Georgia Southern.
“Playing at UTC taught me that I have a role,” Henry said. “I was the go-to person; the person they looked to to score goals, and I was the person they looked to to pump them up if we were down by five goals. It kept me going and pushed me harder every game.”
Henry was also a member of the UTC Dean’s List, the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and the Southern Conference All-Academic Team. She graduated in December with a degree in Health and Human Performance.