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BREAKING: BOYS SOCCER: Grand Rapids Christian’s Dershem steps down to take job in NYC



BY DAN STICKRADT

Communications Specialist | Web And Content Editor | Director of News |

Social Media Director | Interns and Freelance Coordinator

PH: (248) 884-1051

TW: @LocalSportsFans @MiSoccerNetwork


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Aric Dersham is moving onto different pastures.


The Grand Rapids Christian boys soccer coach stepped down this past week after a highly-successful run with the Eagles. He accepted a new job and will be relocating to New York City later this year.


Dershem spent four years as head coach of Grand Rapids Christian preceded by three years as a varsity assistant coach at the school. He previously spent three seasons with GRC’s girls soccer team as a head or assistant coach.


“I loved my time here at Grand Rapids Christian and am proud of everything that we’ve accomplished,” said Dershem. “I will miss coaching here.”


“It has been an honor to serve as a coach at Grand Rapids Christian High School,” he continued. “Over the past seven years, I have cherished the relationships built with players, fellow coaches, parents, and the entire GRCHS community. My journey began as an assistant coach in 2017, never imagining that I would eventually step into the role of head coach during my oldest son's senior season. Leading a program with such a storied history of success and a deeply supportive community has been a privilege beyond measure. Moreover, being able to share these experiences with both of my sons has made this chapter even more meaningful.


“While I had hoped to continue coaching at GRCHS, a new career opportunity emerged this spring that required me to relocate to New York City,” continued Dershem. “Though it saddens me to leave behind the players and the program, I am profoundly grateful for the memories we've created and the experiences we've shared. I am confident that the GRCHS soccer program is poised for continued success, benefiting players, the community, and the beautiful game of soccer. I trust that the athletic department will select an outstanding coach to lead the program into its bright future.”


Dershem has accepted a position with KIPP, a regional charter school system anchored in New York but with locations in over 20 states across the country. He will begin in April but won’t relocate until the summer months, deciding to commute for a couple weeks at a time with occasional weekends back home in Grand Rapids. His youngest son, Christian Dershem, was the starting goalkeeper on last year’s state championship team.


Dershem’s final game turned out to be memorable, as his Eagles blanked fellow state-ranked Mason 3-0 in the Division 2 state finals at Grand Ledge High School.


“I had the pleasure of coaching both sons on that 2021 state championship team and again my youngest son this past season,” said Dershem. “I didn’t know it at the time, obviously, but I guess I can leave as a state champion. My son is graduating this spring and will play at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.”


Dershem departs with a successful 58-20-9 record which included playing in the rugged Ottawa Kent Conference White Division and a tough non-conference schedule as well each year. He coached the Eagles to Division 2 state titles in both 2021 and 2023. His last game with the Eagles turned out to be the ending of a state championship run after his team finished third in the Ottawa Kent Conference White Division and ranked seventh in Division 2 entering the state tournament.


Dershem also led a senior-laden Grand Rapids Christian side in 2021 to the state crown and first since 2000 behind the play of 12 seniors that season. After a rebuilding campaign in 2022, the Eagles bounced back and were a top-15 team in Division 2 all season coming out of the rugged and deep OKC-White, where they finished third behind Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central.


Grand Rapids heated up in the postseason, outscoring its seven tournament opponents by a 21-4 margin with three shutouts. Overall, the Eagles finished 18-5-2 with 10 shutouts and a 72-19 scoring edge.  The Eagles were only 4-3-2 through Sept. 12 before going 14-2-0 in their final 16 matches.


Dershem will not leave the cupboard bare following his departure. Of the 25 players on the 2023 state tournament roster, only eight will graduate and 17 are expected to return.

“There’s a lot of kids coming back, plus rumors that a couple of MLS Next players in the school want to come out and play for (GRC) next year,” noted Dershem. “Those 17 players includes the group of players we brought up from the JV for the tournament run.


“(They) will still be very good next year,” reminded Dershem. “We had one freshman and a few sophomores up this year and a lot of juniors, so I expect they will still be a very good.”


Gershem grew up on the state’s west side, graduating from Holland High School in 1988. He spent four seasons (1988-991) on the roster at NCAA Division III Hope College before getting into teaching.


Gershem said he doesn’t know what the future holds but will not rule out coaching again in the future.


“Who knows? I may be back in Michigan one day and I know I would love to get back in coaching somewhere,” he beamed.


(Have a story suggestion for the Premier Media Group and the Michigan Soccer Network regarding club soccer, high school varsity, amateur soccer, collegiate soccer or professional soccer of teams or players with Michigan ties, contact Communications Specialist/Web and Content Editor/Director of News Dan Stickradt via email at stickradt@michigansoccernetwork.com, or call 248-884-1051. Dan Stickradt is a 31-year veteran of the Michigan Media circles and recently joined the staff full time in March of 2024. Want to schedule a broadcast game or live show, contact PMG/MSN Director of Broadcasting Jonathan Turner for availability and pricing at jonathan@michigansoccernetwork.com.) 








 

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