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LAFC 2022 Player Postmortem: Doneil Henry

Veteran defender a casualty of roster rules midseason.

Colorado Rapids v Los Angeles FC Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

I’ve always been a fan of Doneil Henry, and I was happy to see him signed by LAFC in 2022. But his tenure was ultimately short-lived, through no apparent fault of his own.

The Canadian international has had a well-traveled career — probably to his detriment. After turning pro as a homegrown with Toronto FC, the center back forced a move to Europe, which I don’t entirely blame him for, considering what a basket case TFC were at the time. But the European sojourn was ultimately unsuccessful, so he joined the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2018 and basically revived his career again. After a strong season and a half with the Whitecaps, he was again on the move, to South Korean outfit Suwon Samsung Bluewings. He was a regular in the K League, but he returned to North America to join LAFC, and as an experienced center back, he was a savvy depth addition for the black-and-gold.

He saw a fair amount of time early, coming off the bench mostly, but getting starts in key road games for LAFC, the win at Inter Miami in March and the win at FC Cincinnati in April.

Here are Henry’s stats with LAFC in 2022:

Doneil Henry LAFC 2022 Statistics

2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2022 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 5 2 133 0 0 0 0 3 0
U.S. Open Cup 1 1 45 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 6 3 178 0 0 0 0 3 0

Starting the season, Henry was in the top four on the center back depth chart, behind Jesus David Murillo and Mamadou Fall, probably more or less level with Sebastien Ibeagha. With Eddie Segura still working to come back from his torn ACL, Henry had a chance for playing time, and certainly got some minutes early on.

But when Segura was healthy to return, and especially when Giorgio Chiellini was signed in the summer transfer window, Henry became a roster casualty. Even with Fall somewhat inexplicably benched midseason after starting like a house on fire, Segura getting back in the mix meant the starter’s position was largely locked down, while LAFC’s summer spending spree meant international roster slots were at a premium.

And it turned out, Henry, as a Canadian international who had never previously played in the United States and was therefore not yet eligible for a Green Card, needed to occupy an international roster slot, something LAFC GM John Thorrington confirmed at the start of the season.

With Chiellini, Gareth Bale, Denis Bouanga and Cristian Tello all joining in the summer window, Henry had to make way. And honestly, it was a shame, needing to dump a player for purely bureaucratic reasons is crappy.

So Henry was waived, and fortunately he found a new club, which was an old one, in Toronto FC. TFC again needed defensive reinforcements in 2022, and so the former homegrown’s return was welcomed on several levels in Toronto. I do feel bad he didn’t get to stick around with LAFC as they won the double, however.

From there, Henry’s end to the year was truly bittersweet. A regular for the Canadian men’s soccer team as they returned to the World Cup for the first time since 1986, like former LAFC teammate Maxime Crepeau he suffered an injury just before the tournament and was ruled out of the competition. Henry still traveled to Qatar, as he had been slated to be Canada’s captain on the field, but it’s got to be disappointing he couldn’t play in the biggest event for the men’s program in two generations. He is 29, and obviously nothing is guaranteed, but hopefully he can be in contention for Les Rouges for the 2026 World Cup.

So Doneil Henry’s tenure with LAFC was short, but he did his part in the campaign, certainly helping them in the cause to win the Supporters’ Shield. I remain a fan of his game, and I wish him all the best as he continues his career.

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