With a minute left in the men’s soccer team’s game against archrival Harvard, Henos Musie ’16 stepped up for a free kick from 25 yards out. He had never scored for Yale before, but that did not seem to shake him: he drilled a shot that deflected off the wall and into the net, securing victory for the Bulldogs.
Despite being injured for much of the first half of the season, sophomore transfer Musie, a midfielder from Gothenburg, Sweden, has certainly made his presence felt, even beyond that Oct. 5 matchup against the Crimson.
“You can tell he’s an experienced player who’s played with future pros,” defender Nick Alers ’14 said. “He’s calm with the ball, which is nice because college soccer is often played at a frenetic pace.”
Musie is certainly a cultured soccer player, having played since he was five years old when he joined his local club Azalea BK. By the time he was 15, Musie was looking for a bigger challenge and joined Orgryte IS, Sweden’s oldest club, with hopes of furthering his career. The midfielder played six seasons in OIS’s farm system, where he was able to train and compete with many players who eventually moved on to play on teams in the larger European leagues.
In his last two seasons there, he helped his team to two straight second place finishes in the Mariedal Cup, which is the world’s biggest U-19 indoor tournament. In the 2012-’13 season, Musie captained the team before his transfer to Yale.
“I came to a point where I couldn’t continue my university studies as well as continue playing soccer on a sufficiently competitive level, and therefore had to look elsewhere for an environment where this was possible,” Musie said. “I think it goes without saying that Yale provided me with access to the excellent education program I was looking for, and after having spoken with the coaches and the boys on the team I was convinced that this was where I wanted to be.”
After contacting head coach Brian Tompkins during the 2012-’13 academic year, Musie was invited to the Yale summer camp program and quickly established himself in Tompkins’ plans for the 2013 season.
Last summer at Yale’s East Coast Soccer Academy at Wesleyan University, Musie played with the 2017 Yale recruits in order to adjust to the American style of play. Musie admits it was a struggle for him to become used to the NCAA substitution rules as well as the faster and more physical nature of the collegiate game. Yet the Swede was still able to stand out in front of his future teammates and coaches.
“It became clear that he was an excellent academic and soccer fit for our program,” Tompkin said. “Henos has excellent technical ability and moves well with and without the ball. He’s still adapting to the college game but has the potential to be one of the best players in the Ivy League.”
The beginning of the season did not go according to plan for the Swedish native. Musie came into camp fighting to overcome mononucleosis before being injured in Yale’s second game of the season. He missed the team’s mid-September trip to California before recovering in time to face Quinnipiac on Sept. 28.
The midfielder has faired much better during the second half of the season thus far. In what has been his most important contribution to date for the Bulldogs, Musie’s late free-kick goal against Harvard served as a coming out party for the Swede. The Elis had been down 1–0 entering the 88th minute, when Conner Lachenbruch ’15 tied it to set up a wild finish. Just over a minute and half later, Musie’s effort from 25 yards sent Reese Stadium into scenes of hysteria on a night few will forget.
“Henos was injured for much of the beginning of the season, and I think he is only now returning to his best,” Alers said. “That’s perfect timing for our team, because the Ivy League games often turn on big moments and Henos is definitely a player capable of providing those, as he showed in the Harvard game.”
For his efforts that night Musie was named both the Ivy League’s co-player of the Week and its Rookie of the Week on Oct. 7.
Musie made his impact felt in his next Ivy League contest against Dartmouth last Saturday. He had a total of four shots, including a shot in the 15th minute that required a sharp stop from the Big Green goaltender. Musie played another key role in Yale’s latest victory as he provided the corner kick that eventually put forward Cameron Kirdzik ’17 in place to score the game-winning goal in double overtime.
“[Musie] is a really special player who has as much talent as any player in the country,” captain Max McKiernan ’14 said. “He creates really dangerous situations for us. Off the field he fits in well on the team. He is a really humble kid, so it’s easy to like him and root for him to do well.”
Musie and the Bulldogs will look to continue their success this weekend, when they will have a chance to start 3-0 in the Ivy League for the first time in Coach Tompkins’ career. After its first shutout of the season, against Dartmouth last weekend, Yale is now first in the conference with a 2–0 record. With help from Musie, the Elis are showing both tougher defensive displays and more offensive production, scoring four goals in their last three games.
The Elis will face Cornell at Reese Stadium at 3 p.m. on Saturday.