By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
Danny Cordeiro had given a verbal commitment to attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology in November, but it wasn’t really official until the talented North Arlington High School senior put his signature on a national letter of intent.
Cordeiro will play soccer at NJIT in the fall.
The letter signing took place last Thursday afternoon at North Arlington, with school officials, Cordeiro’s coaches and his father, Carlos, present.
“Once you put the pen to paper, it’s different,” Cordeiro said. “It’s the kind of thing that happens only once in a lifetime.”
That is certainly true when it comes to athletes from North Arlington. It’s not often that a student/athlete from a Group I school gets a chance to become a scholarship recipient.
Cordeiro was sent the letter of intent by the NJIT coaching staff last week. He was not able to officially sign until Wednesday. The signing took place Thursday, because school was closed Wednesday due to the snowstorm.
Some athletes change their mind after giving a verbal commitment. That was not the case with Cordeiro. He was sold on NJIT from the beginning.
“The coaches contacted me to make sure I got it,” Cordeiro said. “But I’m interested in studying engineering in college, so I wanted to go through with that.”
Cordeiro scored 30 goals and had 19 assists last fall for the Vikings. He is currently running indoor track for North Arlington.
Last weekend, Cordeiro won the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I championship in both the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs. It’s the first year that North Arlington has featured an indoor track team and the school already has a two-time state sectional champion, thanks to Cordeiro’s efforts.
Cordeiro won the 800-meter run in 2:00.99 and the 1,600-meter run in 4:37.97.
Not a bad week, winning two gold medals at the state sectionals in his first-ever attempt and signing a college scholarship letter.
“Not a bad week at all,” Cordeiro said. “It’s pretty amazing and definitely memorable. I was pretty happy winning in the first year of indoor track. I liked running in Toms River (the Bennettt Center). I never ran in a dome like that before. It was pretty impressive.”
Cordeiro didn’t get caught up in the aura of a state championship.
“I just ran it like it was a regular race,” Cordeiro said. “I always have the same game plan. I try to win every time. I don’t get caught up in times. I was definitely surprised to go there and win both races. I was just trying to do my best.”
North Arlington head soccer coach Jesse Dombowski was present for the letter signing.
“It’s fantastic,” Dombowski said. “I think it opens up a lot of chances for other kids in our program to get Division I scholarships. Danny is one of the most determined athletes I’ve ever coached. He knows what it takes to get to the next level and I’m so glad he got the chance to go to a Division I school. By far, he’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached and that the school has had.”
To permanently honor Cordeiro, the school plans to put a plaque with his picture near the entrance of the school as a reminder of his accomplishments.
“It can only raise some school spirit,” Dembowski said of the plaque.
“I only heard about that today,” Cordeiro said. “That’s going to be awesome. I’d like to come back to the school and see that in the hallways. That’s pretty special.”
Just like Cordeiro, who is truly a special athlete in every sense of the word.