Where Are They Now: Atuahene, Opoku, Harrison, Twumasi

With such a high number of top quality athletes competing within the Founders League and the Northeast in general, it isn’t surprising that some of them have gone on to make some serious waves at various levels in the NCAA and even into the higher reaches of the soccer world.

There is a vast number of excellent players who have gone on to bigger stages, here are just a few that are making plays at elite levels.

Jack Harrison – Berkshire, Wake Forest, New York City FC

Easily one of the bigger names to emerge from the Western New England Prep School Soccer Association (WNEPSSA) was Berkshire’s Jack Harrison. Harrison was a part of the Berkshire juggernaut that bulldozed its way through New England for 3 straight Class A NEPSAC championships.

Following his work for the Bears, Harrison signed a NLI to Wake Forest, a program known for producing talent. He started all 22 games for the Demon Deacons, notching 8 goals and 11 assists on his way to earning the ACC Rookie of the Year award along with the Offensive Player of the Year — the first time a player has earned both awards in the same season. It was his lone season in North Carolina.

It was only a matter of time before Harrison was noticed by several MLS clubs. Newly-minted MLS club New York City FC attempted to flex the league rules into allowing Harrison to join the club without entering the draft due to the “homegrown player” rule. Harrison played in the NYCFC academy, hence the club’s efforts to forego Harrison entering the draft.

Photo courtesy of Goal.com

Selected No. 1 overall by the Chicago Fire, Harrison was quickly traded to NYCFC, who had its sights set on the youngest player in the player pool. Harrison grabbed his first professional goal against Real Salt Lake and, as no stranger to scoring spectacular goals his whole career, has made a name for himself in a NYCFC squad that includes legends David Villa and Andre Pirlo.

Francis Atuahene – Hotchkiss, Michigan

Atuahene with the game ball at the All-American Game (PBS).

Atuahene, like many of his fellow Ghanaians playing in New England, is a product of the Right to Dream Academy (along with the next three names).

Atuahene clashed with Harrison throughout his prep school career as Hotchkiss frequently found itself facing Berkshire in both league play and the NEPSAC playoffs. Atuahene was a two-time NSCAA High School All-American and was the MVP of NSCAA High School All-American All-Star Game (2014). As the centerpiece of a Bearcats team stacked with talent, Atuahene was one of the premier recruits coming out of the Northeast.

When he joined Michigan, Atuahene made waves immediately. The attacking midfielder scored a hat trick as soon as September 4th of a fresh soccer season. That made him only the second freshman to do that in the Michigan soccer program’s history. He finished his freshman season starting 15/17 games and bagging 10 goals along with 3 assists.

His production landed him a slew of post-season awards in 2015: All-Big Ten First Team, Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten Freshman Team, Team MVP, and Team Newcomer of the Year.

Playing through an injury, Atuahene has 2 goals in 6 starts (coincidentally the only goals Michigan has scored this campaign) this season for a Michigan team looking to find its feet. Atuahene appears to be one of the first names on the team sheet for the Wolverines.

Edward Opoku – Millbrook, Virginia

Opoku was the bane of NEPSAC Class C’s existence during his time at Millbrook. An elite talent, Opoku could have easily gotten by in Class A or B, but as things shook out, he found the back of the net a ridiculous 85 times in his four years with the Mustangs.

In route to earning Millbrook the Class C title in 2012 and 2013, Opoku was also named the Co-MVP at 2014 High School All-America Soccer Game after scoring game-winning goal. Shifty and technically blessed, the diminutive attacker was a force for his years in New England, and that translated just fine to the ACC when he signed with the Virginia Cavaliers.

Opoku tallied 1407 minutes of playing time during his maiden campaign with Virginia, bagging 2 goals and providing 3 assists. However, those stats belie his true impact on games and his contributions to the success of the team and it didn’t go unnoticed as he was named Third-Team All-ACC and to ACC All-Freshman Team.

Cavaliers Mens Soccer Promo Video (spoiler: features heavy dosage of Opoku’s foot skills and shiftiness).

Already with 3 goals and 2 assists in all 6 starts for the Cavaliers, Opoku figures to be a mainstay in the starting lineup for the remaining three years of his collegiate career (provided he doesn’t get snapped up by a professional club).

Ema Twumasi – Kent, Wake Forest

Twumasi, like Opoku, is a smaller and gifted dribbler of the ball with a wicked striking ability. Unlike Opoku, Twumasi is deceptively strong and as gritty a player as they come.

In just his senior year alone, Twumasi scored 29 goals along with 11 assists for the Lions as Kent funneled its offensive production through the 5’8″ striker. Throughout his time with the Lions, Twumasi grabbed 81 goals and 34 assists as he proved too much to be dealt with for much of his prep school career. Connecticut Boy’s Soccer Gatorade Player of the Year in 2015, Twumasi earned all sorts of accolades before being signed on by the Demon Deacons.

Since joining Wake this fall, Twumasi has 2 goals and 2 assists in 6 games, starting 3. Not only is he making an impact as a true freshman for the 7-1-1 Deacons, he’s also producing highlight reel plays like this one here.