UEA FC captain eyes up semi-professional career in Japan

Henry Clark is a third-year student at UEA and captain of the Men’s Football First Team. A versatile player, Henry is able to play various positions but is often utilised at fullback.

Last week he was expecting to fly out to Japan to trial for several professional Japanese football clubs, organised through the head of UEA Football, Paul Neary. However, with the Coronavirus outbreak still disrupting football, his opportunity has been put on hold.

“I was only planning on playing semi-pro next year,” Henry said.

“I sent a video [to the contact] of me playing and they came back a few weeks later with a list of three or four teams who were interested. Two teams wanted me to trial.”

Global football may be paused for the time being, but Henry is sure he will get his chance in Japan.

“Once this is all over it’s still on the cards. Doubt it will be straight away, but I can still go out there once I’m able to.”

His time competing in the local leagues with UEA FC, has been a successful campaign for the skipper, leading the squad to sixth place in the Anglian Combination League before the competition was voided.

On top of that, his team reached the Norfolk Senior Cup Final after two dramatic penalty shootout wins in the quarter and semifinals.

 “Obviously [the nature of winning the semifinal] was good but the team deserved it,” he said.

The final has been rearranged to the start of the 2020-2021 season, with UEA scheduled to  play at Carrow Road.

Despite graduating this year, Henry is determined to play in the big match.

“I’ll play in the final but depending on doing a masters it could be my last game for the university.”

Far from only finding success in Norfolk leagues, it is a testament to the quality of the team’s performances that they are now exporting their players to the far side of the world.

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December 2021
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