Henderson '09 signs with Swedish soccer club

By Manisha Apte, The Dartmouth Staff | 12/16/09 2:17pm

Jessica Griffen / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Dart­mouth men’s soc­cer team’s co-cap­tain and last year’s Ivy League Player of the Year Craig Hen­der­son ’09 has signed for Mjällby AIF, a soc­cer club in Swe­den, on a three-year con­tract.
Hen­der­son will begin play­ing for his new team in Jan­u­ary, and will not be at­tend­ing the Major League Soc­cer pre-draft 2010 adi­das Player Com­bine, to which he was one of 62 col­lege se­niors in­vited.
“I was weigh­ing up other op­tions, but I al­ways wanted to go to Eu­rope and see what I could do there and try to im­prove and make a ca­reer out of it,” Hen­der­son said in an in­ter­view with The Dart­mouth.
Hen­der­son hails from Welling­ton, New Zealand, and was a mem­ber of New Zealand’s na­tional team in the 2008 Olympics in Bei­jing, China.
Hen­der­son said that he hasn’t re­ally con­sid­ered going back home to play soc­cer.
“I didn’t re­ally want to go to New Zealand, be­cause it’s not a place where you can make a liv­ing out of play­ing [soc­cer],” he said.
Hen­der­son will fol­low in the foot­steps of Dart­mouth keeper Sean Mil­li­gan ’09, who was also in­vited to the MLS player com­bine in 2009, but went to play in Eu­rope. Mil­li­gan made his pro­fes­sional ca­reer debut for Greenock Mor­ton FC in Scot­land this past sum­mer.
Hen­der­son said that con­tin­u­ing to play soc­cer after his Dart­mouth ca­reer was al­ways his goal, and will now have the chance to do so at Mjällby AIF.
Mjallby is cur­rently in first place in Super­ettan — the sec­ond-high­est league in Swe­den — and will be pro­moted to Allsven­skan, the high­est league, for the 2010 sea­son.
Hen­der­son will be mak­ing the tran­si­tion to pro­fes­sional soc­cer after a tough sea­son at Dart­mouth, due to a heel in­jury he picked up in an over­time vic­tory over Yale Uni­ver­sity on Oc­to­ber 10. After miss­ing the next six games, Hen­der­son made his re­turn to the field in a 3-0 de­feat to Brown, and ended the sea­son play­ing only 11 matches.
De­spite being side­lined for a large por­tion of the sea­son, Hen­der­son still fin­ished third in the team stand­ings with four goals and four as­sists, and a cu­mu­la­tive 12 points. Striker Lucky Mkosana ’12 and co-cap­tain Dan Keat ’10 fin­ished above him, with 20 and 22 points, re­spec­tively.
Hen­der­son cap­tained the 2008 Big Green team to an Ivy League cham­pi­onship, and was unan­i­mously named to the All-Ivy First Team and was the Ivy League Player of the Year.

Manisha Apte, The Dartmouth Staff