Chambers ready to chase his American dream

15th November 2023

While most SSE Airtricity League players are preparing for the nitty-gritty business end of the season, where every point is worth its weight in gold, Wexford FC goalkeeper Corey Chambers will be embarking on a journey Stateside that he hopes will pa

While most SSE Airtricity League players are preparing for the nitty-gritty business end of the season, where every point is worth its weight in gold, Wexford FC goalkeeper Corey Chambers will be embarking on a journey Stateside that he hopes will pave the way for a glittering career.

The talented young netminder is about to wing his way to Fairfax, Virginia, a short drive from Washington DC, where he will line out for George Mason University (GMU) in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The ambitious 19-year-old set the ball rolling about a year ago when he got in touch with Scholarship Sports USA, providing video highlights of his performances which obviously wooed plenty of potential suitors.

“They sent out to video to various colleges. Colleges got back on to me and I've been back and forth. I took a year off after school, I deferred a place in college in NUI Galway for a year to try and get this sorted, to try to see if the opportunity to go to America was real,” said Chambers.

It turned out the chance to travel to land of opportunity was very real and there were plenty of offers on the table to try to acquire his services, but GMU was the one that turned his head.

“I had lots of contacts with different colleges and different offers and I felt George Mason was the perfect place for me, both academically and athletically. It's a great opportunity to keep your education going while playing top class football,” he said.

Chambers has just two games left with Wexford FC before he makes the switch to the USA, a home fixture against Longford Town, followed by a tough challenge against title-hopefuls Cobh Ramblers, again at Ferrycarrig Park.

For now the Republic of Ireland underage international remains fully focused on the task at hand with Wexford and won't take his eye off the ball, but he could be forgiven for letting his mind drift towards the life-changing opportunity that he has worked so hard for.

“It will be a four-year degree, so I will be playing football for the four years out there. Obviously my aim after the four years would be to sign somewhere professionally, whether that be in America, back here in the League of Ireland or across Europe,” he said.

The former Bray Wanderers and Waterford player really came to prominence earlier this season when stepping in to deputise for the injured Graham Doyle, and with the inspirational club captain eventually succumbing to his injuries Chambers has made the position his own.

“Obviously it was unfortunate the way I got into the team through Graham's injury because he was a huge figure in the club, both on the pitch and off the pitch for the last five or six years,” he said.

Chambers admits that being between the sticks is a pressurised position, particularly with having a such hard act to follow, but he has really enjoyed testing himself over the past few months in the League of Ireland.

“There was always going to be eyes on me when I got into the goal to see how I fared. Hopefully I've given a good account of myself. I've loved every minute of it. Playing senior football is a lot different to the Under 19s and 17s and schoolboys. It's been a great experience for me and I've learned from it and hopefully I've improved over the last few months,” he said.

The teenager has put in a string of impressive performances as the last line of defence and he is quick to praise the role Doyle played in his progression.

“I've worked with Graham since last August, I've been training with him every week. You just pick up little bits from him here and there. You just watch him and things and learn things from him. Things like communication, leadership in the dressing room, professionalism and stuff, you just pick up lots. It's great to be an understudy to someone with that much experience,” he said.

Just like himself he says manager Damian Locke has also embarked on a steep learning curve this season and is impressed with how he has adapted to the tough challenges he faced.

Wexford found results extremely hard to come by in the early part of the season, but the diligent and dedicated work on the training going has been translated into points of late.

“We we're always playing well. The first half of the season we were playing well, it's just the results weren't going for us. We weren't getting that bit of luck. Damian brought in a few players in the mid season who have gone straight into the team and made a huge impact. I think he found a few players that he was missing. It's seems to be working out for him now,” he said.

Chambers says the management team deserve credit for turning things around and believes that the team are definitely heading in the right direction.

“Maybe himself and Carl (Grehan) learned from the first half of the season. They're both new to this level of football and they've both got a feel for it and now they've tackled those challenges head on and now we're playing well and hopefully they can keep the good run going.

“In the last month or so we've had a good run of form, two draws, two wins and a loss so we're on a bit of a high at the moment and the team's playing well. The new signings are doing well and scoring goals so hopefully we can keep it going.”

After the next two games they will have to cope without their impressive young goalkeeper but Chambers will certainly be keeping a close eye on results from beyond the Atlantic waves.

“Every week I'll be checking the scores and scorers and I'm hoping everything goes well for them”, he said.

A couple of good results against Longford Town and Cobh Ramblers, and maybe even a clean sheet or two, would certainly be the perfect parting gift.