In her 17 years on the planet, Arielle Fink has not sat idly by.
The Grade 12 Holy Trinity Catholic High School student has not only received honours for her academic work, but also a name for herself on the soccer field.
With news that she received a scholarship from East Michigan University for both her academic and athletic prowess, Fink is thrilled.
“To me honestly, it’s a big accomplishment, especially because my parents have put a lot of time and money into me playing soccer, so being able to go to school and have part of it paid for it’s just a great accomplishment in general,” Fink said while studying from her home in Bradford during the current COVID protocols.
“Also being able to play soccer in post-secondary school is also a big accomplishment too. So I’ll be able to get my degree and play a game I love as well.”
The future kinesiology student started playing soccer as a striker with the Bradford Eagles when she was four years old.
By the age of eight, Fink was playing on the rep team a year ahead of her counterparts, said her former coach Nick Warman.
“You could tell from an early age she had something special. She was just a little bit quicker than other kids – just had that soccer mind. Kind of like Wayne Gretzky – she knew where to be before the ball got there,” Warman said.
Both her drive for success and natural ability enabled her to become one of the top scorers each year she was on the field, both for the Bradford Eagles and later for the Union Football Club.
“She has a real desire to learn. Quite often she was the first one at training or the last one to leave training because she was working on those skills on her own to be that better player. You could see that she had a bit of hunger in her to do more, to be better,” he said.
At the next level, from age 15 through 18, Coach Greg Beauchamp agreed with Warman that Fink’s efforts have made her the player she is today.
Beauchamp said receiving the scholarship means saving on tuition, housing and food. He said team-mate Emily Iafrate from Alliston will join Fink at Eastern Michigan.
“Bradford has had a couple of kids that have gone on to play for Eastern Michigan, so it’s a bit of a pipeline for the teams,” he said.
Fourteen of Union FC’s players have gone on to play at the university level, he said, pointing out Queen’s University and Dalhousie and Acadia’s universities in the Maritimes as prime soccer schools.
As for Warman, he said he was proud to have coached so many players over the years.
“They were all good players, they just didn’t have the ‘Arielle factor’,” Warman said.