Life is coming fast at Loons player Kervin Arriaga. And the Honduran is heading it home (2024)

Kervin Arriaga experienced a few feelings going into Minnesota United’s match against Atlanta United on May 4.

Arriaga’s second son Keyler was born May 1 and the Loons’ player was “a little sad” to have to leave the newborn baby so soon for a road game in Georgia.

But the previous time Arriaga went to work soon after a son’s birth — Liam, four years ago — he scored a goal for his previous club Marathon in Honduras. There was confidence in having been there and done that.

“It had the chance again this time,” he told the Pioneer Press.

It sure did. Arriaga headed in a corner kick in the 54th minute of the Loons’ 2-1 victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In dedication to his new son, Arriaga mimicked carrying a baby and imitated sucking his thumb after the goal.

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“Honestly, I’m happy and grateful to God for the blessing of giving me another baby,” Arriaga said via a translation from club employee Marleine Calderon. “A blessing. There is something beautiful (in welcoming a baby) and a difficult challenge starting (for my wife and I). Difficult because it’ll be filled with teachings, upbringing, and above all, sleepless nights. But that doesn’t matter because the love we feel for our children fills us day by day.”

Arriaga’s day job has been filled with responsibilities he hasn’t done in a while. New head coach Eric Ramsay has moved the central midfielder into a right-sided center back role over the past three games, all wins. Arriaga previously played center back in a back four, but not in the current back-five setup.

“At the beginning, I had a few nerves beyond those for the game,” Arriaga shared in Spanish. “Nerves of making mistakes inside the box, nerves for my teammates, but past that, (the) head coach has given me the confidence, and I have been able to take advantage of it.”

Ramsay spoke with Arriaga for a few minutes after last week’s training session. “He advises me, he shows me videos of the good things (I’ve done) as well as the things I have to improve on,” Arriaga said. “That’s where some of the trust comes from.”

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Before Ramsay joined MNUFC in mid-March, he did research on his new team from afar in England. Ramsay identified the 6-foot-3 Arriaga as someone with a skill set that would lend itself to versatile roles within the team’s shape.

“The qualities on the ball as a midfield player, but the athletic and physical qualities of a defensive player, and we want to make sure that we use him to his absolute maximum and really make sure we are putting him in the most optimal positions,” Ramsay said. “I think so far it’s been brilliant for us. It’s also been a really good thing for him because he’s stringing together a run of games. He’s looking really disciplined and he’s looking like he’s one of the top performers for us and in the league.”

Arriaga was named to the MLS team of the week for his performance against Atlanta; that came after a difficult start to the season.

Arriaga suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee last August. The club said at the time it was a season-ending injury, but he was able to return for the final games of the season.

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But this preseason, Arriaga’s knee was flaring up and causing discomfort. It would be fine one week and bothersome the next. He played only 58 minutes across the opening seven games of the season.

“For me, frustrating,” Arriaga said. “As a player, we always want to be training, playing, we want to be on the field. It was something complicated.”

After the friendly against St. Patrick’s Athletic on March 20, Arriaga said he had a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his knee. He said it’s been fine since then and he’s put in three consecutive 90-minute shifts in games.

The 26-year-old should be entering the prime of his career, but he currently will be a free agent at season’s end.

The Loons have signed players to new deals amid previous seasons, but at this point, new Chief Soccer Officer Khaled El-Ahmad appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach to pending free agents, which also include Michael Boxall and Franco Fragapane.

Arriaga isn’t sure of his future. “I’m thinking more about what I have left (this season), playing and doing things well,” he said. “If I have the chance to stay, I welcome it. And if I have to leave, then I would thank all the people who work here. But that isn’t known yet. It’s a coin flip that’s still in the air. I just have to keep working and see what happens later.”

Arriaga has been rumored to clubs in Turkey and Germany’s 2. Bundesliga, but those links haven’t been verified.

“It’s a dream for every player (to play in Europe), to move forward and continue taking a step upwards,” Arriaga said. “If it happens, I welcome it. If not, if I have to stay, I’m also happy, to be honest. But we’re going to continue working and see what comes at the end of the season.”

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Life is coming fast at Loons player Kervin Arriaga. And the Honduran is heading it home (2024)
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