Ireland: Dublin Rebels gain the services of import QB Ty Henry

The Dublin Rebels who play in Ireland’s top league have received offensive reinforcement as American quarterback/linebacker Ty Henry has joined the club.

The 6′ ½”, 225 pound Henry who calls Centennial, Colorado home and attended Western State Colorado University, is a veteran of international football. This past, shortened season in Spain he played quarterback for the Mallorca Voltors and led the team to a 3-1 record before the pandemic canceled the season.

In 2019, behind center for the Vila Velha Tritoes in Brazil’s top league, he helped guide the team to the quarterfinals. Prior to that, Henry spent four years in Australia playing for the Swan City Titans, South Eastern Predators and Perth Curtin Saints. He was named league MVP in 2016 and 2017.

Rebels head coach Ross McCooey:

“Since Ty has joined the Dublin Rebels earlier this year, he’s brought all of his experience and knowledge to the fore, and I can already see our players making strides from being around him, and seeing his work ethic first hand. From our initial discussions on philosophies, to how we carry ourselves at the few training sessions we’ve been able to hold during COVID, Ty has been a leader to the guys, sharing his passion for the game with everyone on the team. His presence at the Rebels is, and will be, a huge benefit to our players, but not solely for our club. I think it will have positive ramifications for the whole Irish league, which continues to grow in skill, and talent, and will no doubt be competing in Europe someday soon as players of Ty’s caliber make their impact here.”

American Football in Ireland is strictly amateur a fact of which Henry was fully aware. His decision to settle in this tradition-rich country had nothing to do with sports. As he explains, playing football for him is a bonus.

“My fiancé Rachel is Irish, we met in Australia and then traveled together to all the other countries as I played football. When Covid started we were in Palma De Mallorca, playing for the Mallorca Voltors. Our season was cut short so we made the decision to return to Ireland to settle down here close to her family. The Rebels have a great group of core guys who are playing for the right reasons, are willing to put the work in to improve and want to continue to grow the club. The fact that the league is amateur has no bearing on the skill level of the players here and doesn’t influence my decision to want to be involved. I play football because of all the things it gives me, mentally, physically, socially and the sense of identity that comes with it.”

Ty Henry tossing a pass downfield in a game in February 2020 while playing for the Mallorca Voltors in Spain’s top division

AFI: You have had an extensive international career. How did you discover that you could play in other countries?

Henry: Yes, so far I have played seven seasons in Australia, Brazil and Spain. I had a college teammate named Tim Hermansson from Sweden and he first told us about the game overseas. I had two other college teammates then go play in Finland. When I made the move to Australia after playing for a couple of other clubs, we made the decision to start our own club. Layke Rossiello and I started the Swan City Titans football club and then had a couple of my college teammates come to play with us.

AFI: How much has the game changed/grown since you first played abroad?

Henry: My first game was on a cricket pitch that sloped down so much it felt like I could see the curve of the earth. There were no stands and the other team struggled to field a team. Every league I have been involved in I’ve seen grow exponentially. Games are being played at a higher level, there are more imports now, the game is getting a lot more exposure in other countries, there is a lot more focus on grass roots local recruiting, inclusion of women leagues, junior leagues with a position for every body type. I’m excited to see where the game will be in another 5 years.

AFI: What are the main differences between football in the States and in other countries?

Henry: In the states everyone is playing so that they can go somewhere else to play. In middle school I was focused on high school, high school I was focused on college and college to the NFL. Here guys love a sport that they may have found in an obscure way and they want to soak in all the knowledge about it that they can. Clubs can take great pride in themselves because everyone at the club is playing to make it the best club it can be as a whole. Football is football, soon the NFL will be filled with international players.

AFI: What made you switch from linebacker which you played in college, to quarterback and offensive coordinator?

Henry: My first season we struggled to score and our import QB, local QB and junior QB all were injured at some point. I had played Quarterback a lot in my life and knew that’s what the team needed. I believed I was a better linebacker but a better Quarterback then most in the league. I then made it my goal to study offense and Quarterback play until international teams would want to pick me over any other import QB’s.

AFI: What other countries do you think you would like to try playing in?

Henry: Ireland and Australia have the advantage of English being the spoken language. Which makes living there and my career aspirations easier to obtain. I love to travel though and was planning to play in Germany following Mallorca before Covid hit. At this stage my focus is solely on the Dublin Rebels but wouldn’t rule out other countries in the future depending on where life takes me.

Highlights playing with the Mallorca Voltors in Spain earlier this year.

Check out highlights with Tritos

AFI
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