Proud day at Harrison as Huseinovic, Chamba sign letters

Deydiry Chamba had his mind set on attending a major college to play soccer, like St. John’s University or even locally at Felician University.

But then the Harrison High School soccer superstar attended a clinic last month at Manhattan College.

“A bunch of coaches started to talk about me,” said Chamba, who ended his career with 76 goals, 25 of which came last fall in his senior season with the Blue Tide.

One of those coaches was the head coach at Swarthmore College, the prestigious private institution just outside Philadelphia. Chamba decided to go for a visit.

“The campus is beautiful,” Chamba said. “The people were great. I met the soccer team and they were amazing. The attention I received was not like anything I’d seen from any other institution. I was still debating other schools, but once I went on the visit, I knew I was going to choose Swarthmore.”

At the same time, Chamba’s classmate at Harrison High, football and baseball standout Dustin Huseinovic, was contemplating where he was going to go to college.

Places like Central Connecticut State, Stonehill University and Kean University wanted Huseinovic to play football, but Huseinovic’s life changed when he took a visit to Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y.

“Once I went on the visit and met with the coaches and the players, it just felt right,” Huseinovic said. “I felt more at home at Pace.”

Last week, the two classmates sat down and signed National Letters of Intent to attend their respective schools on scholarship.

“For me, it wasn’t that difficult of a decision,” said Huseinovic, who will play strong safety/rover back at Pace. “I felt at home. It was the right place to be. I felt very comfortable there. I felt like I was familiar with them.”
Huseinovic also felt at home with some of the Pace players, like Harrison Fernandez, Eleyzer Oliviery and Fernando Breton of Union City and Jorge Geronimo of Bloomfield.

“They all have the same background as me in local football,” Huseinovic said. “I felt like I belonged.”

Chamba will fit right in as a student at Swarthmore, considering he carries a 4.1 grade point average and scored a 1,280 on his Scholastic Aptitude Tests. He plans to major in economics and will be fortunate enough to take some classes at the University of Pennsylvania as part of Swarthmore’s economics program.

“I’ve already been asked to take a finance class at UPenn,” Chamba said.

Putting his name to the dotted line made the long journey toward college seem all the more special.

“It’s an unbelievable moment,” Chamba said. “I worked hard for it. I have to thank all the people, the coaches and the teammates, who pushed me. I was able to get my grades up. It felt good to be recognized for my hard work in the classroom as well.”

Although Swarthmore is an NCAA Division III school and cannot offer athletic scholarships, Chamba is receiving a financial aid package that is basically allowing him to attend the prestigious school for no charge.

“It means a lot to me,” Chamba said of the financial aid package. “It means a lot to the school and the program. Not many times can a kid from Harrison go to Swarthmore. At the end of the day, I’m going to get a better education at Swarthmore.”

Huseinovic doesn’t know what he will major at Pace University. He’s just overjoyed that he has signed a letter and will receive an athletic scholarship to college.

“It’s a big relief,” Huseinovic said. “It was a really long process. All the hard work I put in has come to fruition.”

Huseinovic was joined on signing day by Harrison athletic legend Ray Lucas, the current SNY television analyst who was recently inducted into the Rutgers University Athletic Hall of Fame for his prowess as a quarterback. Lucas, a close family friend of the Husenovic family, played in the National Football League with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

“It was my plan all along to play college football,” Huseinovic said. “Now I end up going to college on a scholarship. It’s really a dream come true.”
Huseinovic will now play baseball this spring for the Blue Tide.

“I think this is going to make me enjoy playing baseball much more,” Huseinovic said.

And people in Harrison are going to enjoy the exploits of their two native sons as they embark on their collegiate careers.

Learn more about the writer ...

Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”