Fairfax, an independent city located in the North-East state of Virginia, is where Wexford, Ireland native, Corey Chambers now calls ‘home’. Located just 20 miles from Washington D.C., Fairfax boasts NCAA Division 1 school George Mason University as its largest school. Chambers, put pen to paper in March 2017, and in doing so, the Patriots picked up a goalkeeper with international youth experience on both sides of the pond.
Corey, a dual citizen of Ireland and Canada, due to his Canadian mother, has represented both countries in contests against the likes of Brazil, Czech Republic, South Korea and club sides as prestigious as Juventus & Celtic. Playing on the big stage has never been an issue for the young man from Wexford, becoming a valuable asset to the GMU roster.
August 25th 2017, Chambers gets the nod to start in his first ever collegiate bout in his sides opening game of the season, a home opener no less. The magnitude of the game increased as the Patriots welcomed the nationally ranked #19 Coastal Carolina University to Fairfax, Va. Coming off the back of a 2-12-2 season, the task at hand seemed enormous for the green and gold. After a frantic start, the Patriots took an early lead, 1-0, with Chambers looking composed and stout between the sticks. It wasn’t until the 37th minute when the Chanticleers would break the resolve of the Mason backline and fire past a helpless Chambers.
With the game finely poised, the game entered the 60th minute, when Chambers turned provider, as he launched a mammoth cross-field “zing” into the path of senior Henning Dirks. Dirks took the ball in his stride and placed an acute strike into the corner to wrap up the win for GMU. Credited with 4 saves and an assist in his first game in the NCAA, Chambers had clearly settled into his new surroundings.
Just two days later, GMU were in action again, this time hosting 2016 Patriot League Champions, American University. Unsurprisingly Chambers kept his spot and produced another scintillating display earning his first collegiate clean sheet and posting up 4 saves for the second game in a row. GMU ran out 3-0 winners and started the season 2-0 for the first time in 3 years. The accolades would not stop there for the young Irish goalkeeper as he was selected as the Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Week, and along with that award, he was also the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week.
A trip to New York followed with away games against both Albany and Siena. A 3-1 defeat to Albany, an NCAA tournament team in 2016, brought GMU back down to earth with a bump. However, two days later they rallied well and brought back a hard-fought 2-2 draw, after 110 minutes of action. Chambers recorded a season high 9 saves in the bout. A back-and-forth 4-3 overtime victory over Binghamton propelled the Patriots to a season opening record of 3-1-1, a stark contrast to how things were just 12 months prior. Chambers clocked up 28 saves to lead the Atlantic 10 Conference in saves per game, and total saves after the first 5 games, giving the Patriots an auspicious and dependable keeper between the sticks.
Up next would be the University of West Virginia who would come into Patriot territory and snatch an overtime 3-2 victory in what proved to be Chambers’ last action for a month. In Corey’s comeback game, against St. Louis, he managed to pull off 7 saves with at least three being top shelf. A stellar performance to match his freshman season. A commanding presence in the goal, giving confidence to the backline. What followed was a shared performance against Bonaventure, as Chambers came off the bench to record a clean sheet in their 1-0 defeat.
Closing out the season at the University of Dayton Fliers, saw a 5-2 loss in a game where Chambers recorded 4 saves to bring his tally to 43 in just 8 games. Recording an assist to end the season with a point showed Chambers’ worth in both the defence and attack. Missing his presence in key parts of the season ultimately worked against the Patriots. Chambers will be hoping for a more consistent season in 2018 in terms of seeing the field, but will most certainly build upon his experience and myriad great performances.
After finishing the season Corey managed to pick up Rookie of the Year for the Patriots at their annual end of season presentation. A fine reward to match his performances on the field in his freshman year. Not many freshmen make a significant impact as large as Corey has had, so naturally big things are expected for Fall 2018.
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