KANSAS CITY, Kan. – When Stephane Auvray heard the rumors linking Thierry Henry to Major League Soccer, he passed his phone number to the Henry camp just in case the French-born forward of Guadeloupean descent needed another opinion.
Turns out Henry already made up his mind.
“He made his decision without calling me,” Auvray said, “but I am sure we will have time to discuss it.”
And what if Henry had decided to give the Guadeloupe National Team captain a ring?
“I was going to tell him that the MLS is getting bigger and bigger,” Auvray said. “I think he knows it, and that is why he wants to come. There is quality in this league, and the fact that players like him come will give the league more quality.”
For his part, Auvray arrived in MLS from Ligue 2 club Nimes Olympique during the offseason after a 10-year career in France. He has injected his own quality into a Wizards side that has struggled for results this season.
Although the 32-year-old Henry is four years older than Auvray, KC’s midfielder believes “Titi” is coming stateside for the right reasons.
“He still has plenty to give,” Auvray said. “He’s quite young and I know he really wanted to come to the US, so he’s not just coming on free retirement, in my opinion.”
On Guadeloupe, an island of approximately 400,000 inhabitants, the word "stranger" is a fairly relative term, especially when it comes to professional soccer players.
Auvray says he has never met Henry, who is of Caribbean heritage but grew up in France and played for the French National Team before retiring from international play following the conclusion of the World Cup in South Africa.
That hasn’t stopped KC’s holding midfielder from closely following Henry’s career at AS Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona and now the bright lights of the Big Apple as a member of the Red Bulls.
“As Guadeloupeans, we always follow the other Guadeloupeans wherever they are,” he said. “We always follow what they are doing, and it is the same with Thierry Henry because he won the World Cup and a lot of things.”
While Auvray backs Henry for even more achievement in America, he has one stipulation: “I think [Henry] will have success, and I hope so – I just don’t want him be successful against us.”