Physical trainer Henry delivers for school, club and country
Physical trainer Jason "Buju" Henry working with Reggae Girl Christina Chang. (Photos: Observer file)

IT will go down as one of, if not the most remarkable achievement in his career but for physical trainer Jason "Buju" Henry, winning schoolboy football titles, the Jamaica Premier League (JPL), and qualifying the senior Reggae Girlz for a second-consecutive Fifa Women's World Cup in the same year, was all in a day's work.

Despite the enormous responsibility to keep the players for school, club and country in optimum condition, Henry accepted each assignment with grace and with the commitment to deliver results. And he came through with flying colours on each occasion.

Simply put, the 31-year-old doesn't just boast a big reputation as one of the youngest and brightest in his field in Jamaica and across the region, he lives up to it.

Still, for Henry, fuelling Kingston College to the Manning Cup and Olivier Shield titles, as well as Harbour View Football Club to a long-awaited Premier League triumph and the Reggae Girlz to another successful Concacaf Women's Championship campaign, almost simultaneously, are just all a part of his story.

In 2018 Henry also won the Manning Cup with KC as well as had a hand in the Girlz' historic appearance at the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup in France.

"I am just blessed to have accomplished this feat, but it's all a part of the journey. This year has just been amazing with some awesome experiences — and the Girlz qualifying for another World Cup just tops it off. The Girlz are out of this world! Many wouldn't know how hard-working these Girlz are but the end product speaks for itself.

"So, being a part of this historic back-to-back World Cup qualification means a lot to me personally, especially given the difficulties and distractions both staff and players had to defy," Henry shared with the Jamaica Observer.

"The schoolboy titles were a physical masterclass, well-planned and supported by Kingston College football management team and coaches. Despite the limited sessions due to lockdowns caused by [novel] coronavirus pandemic, the boys bought into my physical homework and again, the results speak for themselves," he added.

The JPL triumph was the one Henry said took every ounce of his craft to make possible, as Harbour View at one point seemed nothing like title contenders — that is until the business end of the season when they eked out a play-off spot on goal difference.

"Based on the league's format, all I wanted was for my club to make the top six because I had already started studying the physical abilities of the other five teams.

"I started to listen and watch more and I saw that the teams ahead of us looked a bit tired so my assistant Peters and I went to work, knowing that we were the only team that didn't really peak heading into the play-off; and the rest is history," explained Henry, who was with the Reggae Girlz in Mexico when Harbour View hoisted the title.

While it is clear that each leg of the triple accomplishment took every bit of his energy, passion, drive and grit, Henry, a graduate and now coach at G C Foster College, relished all the curves and bumps experienced along the way since they are seen as integral to the improvement of his craft.

"It might sound cliché but I always say that you have to respect the job and what comes with it. So, in order for me to build on this success I just have to remain humble and keep being a student of the game," said Henry who is mentored by Girlz strength and conditioning coach Will Hitzelberger.

Henry is now expanding his reach as he departed North Street to assume the post at Old Hope Road with Jamaica College for the upcoming schoolboy football season, scheduled to begin next month.

He is also expected to hold down a busy schedule with the Reggae Girlz in preparation for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"Leaving KC was a very hard decision after five years. The massive fan base, some great kids, management team headed by Sir [Donovan] Germaine, Coach "Stampy" [Raymond Watson] and Ludlow [Bernard], was hard to walk away from but, no love lost. I am a professional and I will bring the same energy to JC," the Spalding High school alumnus and former player for Premier League club Humble Lion noted.

"So I am looking forward to that new challenge as well as the World Cup and also possibly defending the JPL title. I know what I have to do and we will see how things play out," ended Henry who is set to conduct a short physical training course at G C Foster College later this year.

HENRY...this year has just been amazing with some awesome experiences.
Sherdon Cowan

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