VANCOUVER, BC - Doneil Henry is chomping at the bit, and ready to get to work.
Acquired by Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Friday, the Canadian international and former West Ham United FC player already has the start of preseason circled on his calendar.
"I feel like I'm in excellent condition, I just need to get game fit," Henry told whitecapsfc.com. "Coming back to MLS, knowing that preseason starts in late January, that gives me enough time to give my legs the proper beating that it needs to get out and compete in a high level."
Henry makes his return to Canada, where he began his professional career with Toronto FC before embarking on a move to Europe, that included stops at English Premier League club West Ham United FC, then-Championship side Blackburn Rovers, and Danish Superliga club AC Horsens.
"The most important thing for my career right now is to get firing, get back healthy, and get situated with a club that best suits me. This move to Vancouver puts me in a situation with a proper coach and medical staff," said Henry.
He should know from experience, as he spent time with WFC head coach Carl Robinson when the two were at Toronto FC - Henry as the captain of the Residency squad, and Robinson as co-captain of the first team. It also appears that he's ready to bring whatever the 'Caps technical staff needs out of him.
"I'm going to do exactly what the coaches ask me. I'm not going to overcomplicate things," said Henry. "I'm going to add competition within the team. I think it's healthy when guys know that another guy is always in their back looking to get a spot. I'm here to focus on doing my part, and helping the team get three points every week."
From Toronto, Henry was first transferred to Cypriot First Division side Apollon Limassol at the age of 21, before his move to West Ham. Now, he returns to his home country seasoned, having overcome injuries and the natural adversity of moving away as a young prospect and competing with upper echelon talent.
"In my early days in MLS, I was very young and very rash. I've had a lot of time to mature into the game and into the position," said Henry. "Being away, you mature and you grow up very quickly. They've helped me shape into a man, and I'm smarter for it. I'm fearless. What I'm never going to lack is how hard and how fearless I am in how I play the game."
Through hard work on the pitch, Henry is motivated to win over the home supporters with his ferocity and relentlessness.
"My last couple of national team games were at BC Place. I know what it's all about - the fans are amazing, it's unreal," Henry said. "I'm looking forward to playing in front of the fans here. I'm excited to get started. I'm ready to work."