Whether it’s a few hours or a few days away, the impact of leaving home touches the majority of college students. That dynamic is enhanced when a student leaves the comfort of their own country and travels thousands of miles to pursue an American education.
Like the hundreds of other international students at Wright State, Deri Corfe finds himself in that situation. A native of England, he chose to leave his friends and family behind to pursue a degree, a perspective on other cultures and his unmatched passion in life: football.
Or, as we in the States call it, soccer.
Corfe has been playing soccer his entire life. He joined Manchester City when he was 12 years old and remained with the team for six years. At 18, he tried out for several professional clubs in England and then decided to take a step back and look at all of his options.
“Things didn’t work out the way I thought they were going to in soccer,” he said. “I looked into coming to America, and it really stood out to me. The ability to get a degree and play soccer at such a high level was something I wanted to pursue. My family was really supportive of me coming out here and having a degree to fall back on.”
Corfe started out at the University of Rio Grande, where he captured all-conference honors and help the team advance to the Division II national finals. He transferred to Wright State ahead of the 2018 season and went on to be among the team leaders in points, games played and minutes played. He took 75 shots in 2018 (35 more than the next highest player), establishing himself as one of Wright State’s best offensive options.
Corfe cited his teammates and coaching staff as reasons he decided to make the move to Wright state.
“I spoke to a few coaching staffs, but when I spoke with the Wright State staff I felt welcomed right away,” he said. “I loved the environment, and they made me feel wanted. That was something I really wanted to be a part of.”
While some may think being an international student-athlete is incredibly stressful, Corfe uses his love of the game to get through tough times. When he goes through major stretches of homesickness, he has soccer and his teammates to fall back on. With mom, dad and three siblings back in England, Corfe admits it can be tough being so far away from them.
“I only get to see them once a year for Christmas, so it can be easy to get homesick. If you have a bad day of school or a rough day of training, sometimes it’s nice to go home and see your family and it makes you feel better. Here, you go back home and you can sort of feel alone,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to have your teammates to fall back on, and the coaching staff make it very aware that you can go to them if you’re struggling with anything.”
Corfe will continue on his journey to pursue his educational and athletic goals at Wright State. He hopes to sign a professional contract after this season so he can continue to play soccer at a high level. As an organizational leadership major, he hopes to use his degree to help him in any career he has in the future.
Through it all, Corfe remains humble and grateful for the opportunities he has. Keeping his love for family and soccer at the forefront, he never forgets where he comes from, nor where he plans on going.