Derick Arhin was introduced to the game of soccer, or football, as his home country calls it, a smidge late in his youth days compared to most young athletes. The English-born graduate transfer from the University of Rhode Island (URI) did not touch a ball until he was 10 years old. For adolescents, especially in a country where soccer is king, that started Arhin off at a bit of a disadvantage.
“All my friends did was play soccer whenever we had free time. I just naturally wanted to join in on the fun, and I turned out to be pretty okay,” Arhin stated.
Arhin moved to the United States when he was 12-years-old, where his parents, his younger sister, and himself settled into a home in Connecticut. He joined the club Oakwood Academy, an academy associated with the U.S. National Soccer Association, in Glastonbury.
He played there throughout all of his high school years, where he was introduced to several Division I coaches as his sustained success on the pitch landed him on their radars. Oakwood held many showcases for these coaches to come watch and meet the players. That is exactly where Arhin was introduced to URI, and he eventually made his decision during his senior year to play Division I soccer for the Rams.
Four years later, Arhin was staring the “real world,” right in the face, with a choice to forgo his remaining eligibility and find a job, or continue on with school and look elsewhere to play.
Long-lasting connections are one of the many reasons why Springfield College is so special, and that is exactly how Arhin slowly worked his way here onto Alden Street.
“I knew I wanted to do sports psychology by my junior year,” Arhin began. “We had a sports psychologist that year who was actually an alum of Springfield College, Dr. John Sullivan, and he really became my mentor.”
“I looked up to him a lot and I kind of just wanted to follow his path and do something similar. I still wanted to play soccer and be competitive while finding a program that can help me achieve my dreams of being a sports psychologist, and that’s when I found Springfield College.”
Arhin was adamant to continue his playing career wearing ‘THE jersey.’ During his senior campaign at URI, Arhin saw what he thought was his final collegiate season be ripped away from him as if it were a linebacker forcing a fumble.
He knew there was more left in his tank.
“I definitely wanted to play soccer here. I knew after my four years I wasn’t ready to just stop abruptly, especially when my senior season was taken from me. Before I even applied [to SC], I immediately contacted coach Crabill and was wondering if I would be able to play here. I wanted to come to a school where I could do both,” Arhin declared.
Numerically and geographically speaking, the University of Rhode Island and Springfield College are nowhere near the same. Going from a school where there are around 20,000 students to one that has only 4,100 (undergrad and graduate students) may be difficult, and certainly might take an adjustment period, one would think.
“I guess I never really thought about [the differences in size],” Arhin recognized. “Although Rhode Island was a very big school, it was a very close-knit community. I was very used to everyone knowing and supporting each other, so coming to Springfield, to a smaller setting, I was excited because I knew it would embody those same features.”
Flipping to the soccer aspect of that notion, Arhin was surprisingly pleased with the commonalities between not only the level of soccer but the willingness to be great from each and every member of the Pride soccer team.
“If I’m being honest, I thought it would be such a complete change and I was worried about how I would fit in,” Arhin admitted. “But from the first day of preseason to now, I haven’t noticed that much of a difference, because coming into the season, everyone had the same characteristics that I did. Everyone wants to win and everyone has that competitive aspect to them. Every aspect that I felt at URI, I have been feeling here, so it doesn’t feel like that much of a transition.”
Thrilled is an understatement when describing how Pride head coach Tommy Crabill and company feel about having Arhin on board, and as for fitting in, he seems to be nestling his way in perfectly, in large part because of the family vibe this team gives off, according to Arhin.
“Everyone was so welcoming, I felt like one of their own very quickly. The coaches and staff have a lot of trust and confidence in me, and they give me a lot of freedom to play the way I want to play, and really let me just enjoy myself when I’m out there,” said Arhin.
His No. 3 jersey has been seen flying around the field making play after play thus far, accounting for two goals and two assists on the young season. Arhin will still have one more year of eligibility, making him clear-cut the oldest member of the club.
“Just being a resource for the boys whenever they need it,” Ahrin remarked about being the veteran leader. “I think they naturally look up to me just based on my age and experience, so I think it’s important to always have those role models on the team, especially for the younger guys whenever they have questions or need anything in general.”
As much as Ahrin accepts being a resource himself, he has never seen anything quite like the resources here on campus that Springfield has made available for student-athletes.
“The resources that have been given to us as athletes are amazing. It isn’t common to see, I have never seen resources to this extent on any team I’ve been on. I go out to the field and we have two athletic trainers at our disposal, we have the strength and conditioning coach watching our practice, and all these people are so engaged in what we are doing. It really helps our team to reach our goal of winning the NEWMAC or even going further,” Arhin explained.
The URI graduate transfer is undoubtedly thankful for each and every opportunity that comes his way and surely looks to continue to build relationships the Springfield College way. Arhin is looking to attain his master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, with the ultimate goal of becoming a sports psychologist.
Derick Arhin has accumulated, and embodies, each and every trait you need to be successful on Alden Street in such a short period of time. He is here to stay, and he will forever be a part of the Pride family.
Photo: Springfield Athletics