Spc. Pearl Henriquez joined the Army as an opportunity, first, to continue her education, and second, to pursue her favorite hobby — basketball. Before finishing advanced individual training, Henriquez had already begun to compile her application for the All Army Women’s Basketball team.
This October, just nine months into her Army career, she headed to trial camp in Fort Indiantown Gap, Penn., where she is competing with 18 other women to move on to further All Army Women’s Basketball competition.
Henriquez, who is a security specialist with the 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion, began playing basketball when she was 12, and was always the girl on the block who wanted to beat the boys in push-ups, she said. She also played basketball for Montreat College in North Carolina and professional basketball for a year in Georgia before joining the Army.
“I’m excited; really excited and a little nervous,” Henriquez said. “I just need to get into my natural habits and I’ll be fine. I’ve just got to play my game.”
Her husband, Kewan Beebe, who is also a basketball player, moved to Germany with Henriquez just two months ago, shortly after their marriage.
“I’m happy,” Beebe said, “I knew it was coming; I can say that. She’s really good.”
The pair, who met playing basketball in their hometown of New York City, started playing in games at the post fitness center as soon as they moved to Wiesbaden. It was there they met Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andre Negron, who trained with Henriquez at least three days a week up until she left for the camp.
“I think she has a good opportunity,” said Negron, whose basketball experience also includes college and professional play, as well as coaching. “Her worst enemy is herself, which can be a good thing and a bad thing because she’s really hard on herself. I think you need that to push yourself to get better, but like I told her, don’t let it get the best of you sometimes. If you make a mistake just let it go and keep pushing forward … Honestly, she’s going to make the team.”
Soldier-athletes are selected for All Army Sports through an application process to attend trial camps where the best move on to compete in other armed forces competitions and in other national and international competitions.
For more information about All Army Sports, visit www.allarmysports.armymwr.com.