The identity of the club in Cyprus that Toronto FC sold Doneil Henry to has been a closely guarded secret by the Major League Soccer team.
But TFC on Friday finally confirmed to Sportsnet that it’s Apollon Limassol.
Founded in 1954, Apollon plays in the Cypriot first division and has won the league championship three times.
Soccer Central podcast: SPORTSNET.CA’s Soccer Central podcast, hosted by John Molinaro and James Sharman, takes an in-depth look at the beautiful game and offers timely and thoughtful analysis on the sport’s biggest issues. To listen and subscribe to the podcast, CLICK HERE.
Apollon currently sits in second pace in the Cypriot topflight, four points adrift of league leaders APOEL FC. Apollon is also competing in this season’s UEFA Europa League, playing in the same group as Spanish outfit Villarreal, Germany’s Borussia Monchengladbach and FC Zurich of Switzerland.
Daniel Haber, a Canadian forward, also plays in Cyprus—the Toronto native is owned by Apollon, but is currently on loan at Ayia Napa.
In a bit of a shocker, TFC coach Greg Vanney last Thursday revealed that Toronto sold Henry to a club in Cyprus earlier this season, and that team then loaned him directly back to the Reds for the duration of the 2014 MLS campaign.
TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko later confirmed the deal was signed with the Cypriot outfit in April after Henry told management that he wanted to pursue a career in Europe.
But neither Vanney, nor Bezbatchenko, nor Henry would reveal the name of the Cypriot club despite fielding numerous media inquiries earlier this week.
Bezbatchenko defended the decision to not make a public announcement when the sale was first completed.
“In our position, the player wasn’t leaving; there was nothing changing about the player budget [and] there was even a chance he might be here next year. We thought it would be more of a distraction, more than anything,” Bezbatchenko stated.
Bezbatchenko also confirmed that TFC will sit down with Henry and that the defender will talk to his new club before deciding where he’ll play next year—whether it’s in Toronto or in Cyprus. Bezbatchenko said “there’s no definitive timeline” as to when Henry’s fate will be decided, but that he hopes to determine that sooner rather than later.
“As of right now, a lot of discussions still have to be made between myself and Toronto,” Henry told reporters earlier this week. “I’m weighing my options to see where my future will go. I’ll sit down with my agent, my family and I’ll see what the best decision is for me.”
Bezbatchenko didn’t rule out the possibility of Henry being loaned back to TFC for the duration of the 2015 MLS campaign. He also said there’s a chance the club from Cyprus could sell Henry off to another team in Europe, but only after first consulting with TFC. If Henry was sold, Toronto would receive compensation, but Bezbatchenko wouldn’t offer specifics.
Henry, 21, has spent his entire professional career with Toronto FC. He signed with the senior team in 2010 after coming through the ranks of TFC’s youth academy.
A native of Brampton, Ont., Henry has scored two goals in 70 MLS appearances for TFC. Henry is the current longest-serving player on the Toronto roster, having made his debut for the Reds in 2010
He’s also earned 12 caps with the Canadian national team.