By Destiny Bramblett, Chattanooga, TN—The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has had their share of student athletes succeeding at the next level of athletics in many sports in the past, but until now, not in soccer.
Donna-kay Henry, from Queens, NY, played on the UTC women’s soccer team from 2008-2011. She earned numerous athletic honors from the Southern Conference as well as academic honors.
The former UTC soccer star had an opportunity to try out for Women Professional Soccer teams until it was announced that the organization was suspending their 2012 season. That’s when she said she had the opportunity to play in the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite in the summer of 2012. The Western New York Flash, in Buffalo, NY, signed her.
“Coach [J.D. Kyzer] spoke with coach [Aaran] Lines during the spring and he was interested in signing me for the season,” Henry said.
The Flash, also known as the Buffalo Flash in the Women Professional Soccer League were the organizations Champions in 2011, as well as the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite in 2012, when she was on the team.
“Winning the championship was awesome,” she said. “It was definitely something I had never experienced.”
During her tenure at UTC she helped with a 22-45-6 record playing for the Lady Mocs soccer team, starting every game during her four years.
Former teammate Kelly Crew, a junior from Brisbane, Australia, said, “D.K. is a very inspirational player and brings so much talent to the game.”
Henry said: “Playing for the [WNY] Flash, I didn’t really play much. Our team was stacked with a lot of players that played the same position as me [striker].”
Henry served as the second youngest player on the Flash’s roster. According to Henry, her teammates were high caliber players with more professional experience.
Kyzer recruited Henry out of high school giving her the opportunity to playing Division I soccer. Kyzer said he knew what Henry was experiencing gave her words of encouragement.
Kyzer said: “Take advantage of the opportunity at hand. This is something you’ve worked for all your life, stick with it.”
She finished the season, with the Flash, prior to coming back to UTC for the fall semester to finish school.
Henry said, “Playing for the Flash was a great opportunity, I’m thankful and hoping that it will open up new opportunities [to play overseas].”