St George’s College student, Devyn Hencil talks to frontrowzim.com about his life playing soccer for school and country. The pint sized attacking midfielder lets us in on his biggest challenge, you guessed it – his small stature. First though, Brian Hencil (Devyn’s father), gives us a bit of history on the Young Warrior.
Frontrowzim.com: Tell me more about Devyn and soccer.
Brian: Devyn was born with a talent for soccer. From the moment he could walk he was kicking a soccer ball. From the days I played social soccer, Devyn would grab any opportunity to get a ball and practise shooting while the goalkeepers warmed up, so I guess that’s where he got his eye for goal from.
Frontrowzim.com: Tell me more about your experiences playing soccer for St George’s College?
Devyn: When I arrived at my first U14 practise session I was a little nervous because I had never played with any of my fellow U14 team members. But I remember I scored this amazing goal from outside the 18-area and everyone including some of the first team members watching, ran on to the field and congratulated me. From then onwards it was all up-hill and I ended up winning “Most Important Junior Soccer Player” that year and “Most Valuable Junior Soccer Player” the following year, as well as my call-up to the national U15 team that was to compete at the first Youth Olympics Games in Singapore in 2010. I then got my first 1st team cap at the tender age of 16 and I scored a goal on debut. Later on that year I was chosen to be part of the U19 CHISZ (Conference of Heads of Independent Schools in Zimbabwe) select team. That was the beginning of my three-year stint as a first team member and I ended up top goal scorer in the latter two years. With all my achievements I was awarded full colours which are the highest award a player can receive at schoolboy level.
Frontrowzim.com: What are your fondest memories in your sporting career so far?
Devyn: My experience at the youth Olympics in 2010 has to be by far the best experience ever and the best memory to date. Then there are all the gaols I have scored and there have been some spectacular ones. As a sportsman it’s not only soccer that I am talented at. I also play cricket and my best memories would be when I in U16, I had some good batting stints and a man-of-a-match award when I took 5 wickets in four overs for just 7 runs at a tournament at Christian Brothers College.
Frontrowzim.com: Any role models?
Devyn: The one and only Nani.
Frontrowzim.com: Why Nani?
Devyn: He plays for my favourite team, Manchester United, and his style of play, the way he is able to dribble out of situations, his speed and all other attributes he has are very similar to mine. I’m naturally fast and I can dribble, plus we play the same position on the wing, be it left or right. Our play is very similar.
Frontrowzim.com: What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Devyn: I’m focusing on passing my exams at the moment and at the same time trying to obtain a soccer scholarship to an American university in the NCAA division 1 or 2. I also want to get a masters in business administration and finance. If the opportunity to play in the MLS appears I’ll take it and I would not be surprised if an opportunity does arise.
Frontrowzim.com: Which team would you say has given you the toughest opposition in the local schools league?
Devyn: There are three schools namely Churchill, Prince Edward and Lord Marlven. But I have managed to score quite a few against Prince Edward.
Frontrowzim.com: What are your thoughts on Zimbabwe’s performance at the games in Singapore?
Devyn: I think we played well and to the best of our abilities.
Frontrowzim.com: Is there anything that you think you could have done differently for a better result?
Devyn: We kind of under estimated our first opponent which was the host nation and with the whole stadium cheering Singapore, a lot of us were shell-shocked by the atmosphere and we lost that match. This put us under a lot of pressure to win the next game but sadly we lost. So I think we should have just kept our minds on our game plan and played with more confidence in the first match.
Frontrowzim.com: What has been your biggest challenge playing first team sport at high school?
Devyn: I am small in stature so my biggest challenge would be receiving the high balls but as I said before I am very quick with the ball and very slippery so I am a handful to many full-backs.
Frontrowzim.com: What role do your parents play in your sporting and academic life?
Devyn: My parents always set the bar high and I always strive to achieve the goals they set and because of my discipline, I achieve these goals.
Frontrowzim.com: This is is our signature question Devyn. Discipline or talent?
Devyn: Both but mostly discipline because in my view you can have all the talent in the world but if you have no discipline all your talents go to waste. I’m lucky I have both discipline and talent.