By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
A lot of local soccer coaches, experts, followers and fans were asked about the recent scoring explosion of North Arlington High School senior center midfielder Danny Cordeiro and the answer was fairly unanimous.
It was unprecedented. Never before seen. Certainly one of a kind.
“It is amazing,” North Arlington head coach Jesse Dombowski said. “He’s been controlling the game on both sides. It’s amazing what he’s doing.”
Cordeiro is just letting it all fall into place. He’s certainly not fazed by the recent string of domination.
“I wasn’t really amazed,” Cordeiro said. “I just keep playing and scoring. I want to keep scoring as many goals as possible to help my team. I’m just happy we won the games more than anything else.”
As much as Cordeiro is trying to downplay his incredible achievements, it is hard to ignore. He managed to score a school-record six goals in one win over St. Mary’s of Rutherford. One game later, Cordeiro found the net four more times in a victory over Lyndhurst.
That’s right, 10 goals in just two consecutive games.
For his efforts, Cordeiro has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the past week.
On the season now, Cordeiro has scored 23 goals and collected nine assists in just 11 games for the Vikings, who now own a 7-3-1 record.
It’s also fairly astounding that Cordeiro is gathering all these goals from the center midfield slot. Most goal scoring opportunities are reserved for strikers.
“He’s been involved in a lot of give-and-gos,” Dembowski said. “He comes up with the others and then gets the ball back. But he also has the ability to take the ball all the way up. He’s had some great opportunities to score. We knew we needed that game (St. Mary’s) and he was going to find ways to score.”
Cordeiro has a method to his goal-scoring madness.
“I try to always keep the ball at my feet,” Cordeiro said. “I want to be able to control the pace of the game. I also try to get everyone involved as much as possible.”
Cordeiro has already surpassed last year’s goal total. He had 16 goals for the entire season last year.
“I’m happy about that,” Cordeiro said. “I want to have a lot more goals before the end of the season.”
“Every year, he keeps getting better,” Dembowski said. “It’s amazing that he keeps getting marked by two or three guys every game and he keeps putting them in.”
Dembowski was asked what are the main reasons why Cordeiro has been so successful.
“He has talent, but he also has incredible stamina,” Dembowski said. “He has great touch with a great shot. He’s been taking our free kicks and put a few in from out there.
But he’s able to just keep going. He never gets tired. It’s amazing to see.
”Safe to say that Dembowski likes saying ‘amazing’ when it comes to Cordeiro.
Cordeiro also believes that there is another key to his prowess.
“I really like playing at home and I like playing on the new turf,” said Cordeiro, crediting the new FieldTurf facility at Riverside County Park. “The new turf field really helps me. The game is faster and that helps me. It’s much easier than on grass.”
Cordeiro wants to continue his goal scoring barrage.
“It’s important that we all keep playing well,” Cordeiro said. “We want to get a good seed in the state tournament, so we have to get into a rhythm and win a few more games.”
Cordeiro is motivated to get a high seed in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I playoffs, so the Vikings can get a home game. Last year, the Vikings earned a home game, but couldn’t play at home due to the damage to Riverside County Park’s grass field caused by Hurricane Sandy, so instead, they had to play on the road.
“We definitely want to get on the turf this year,” Cordeiro said. “Especially after what happened last year.”
While no college has officially contacted Cordeiro, he definitely wants to play on the next level.
“We’re talking to colleges now,” Dembowski said. “We spoke with Drexel and Rutgers. We’re putting out some applications now. He absolutely can play on the college level. His knowledge of the game and his skill level, his athleticism are all reasons why he can. He’s the total package.”
“I’m looking forward to hearing from schools,” Cordeiro said.
Hopefully, a week where he scored 10 goals can help.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” said Cordeiro, who might want to pursue a degree in engineering in college. “We have to see.”
For now, Cordeiro will just continue to have a senior season most soccer players simply dream about.