James Chambers celebrated his 100th match for the Bethlehem Steel and became the club’s all-time leading goal scorer with a penalty kick in second half stoppage time at Goodman Stadium on Saturday.
The fierce competitor the 32-year-old Irishman has shown himself to be since joining the team in their inaugural season in 2016, he was more concerned with the final score.
“It was nice for sentimental reasons, but it doesn’t count for anything now because we’ve lost the game,” Chambers said after the game. “That’s the disappointing thing.”
Playing at Goodman Stadium for the first time since they beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies on the last day of the regular season last October, the visiting Rowdies took the lead with a pair of first half goals.
“I think it was a nice little touch,” Chambers aid about playing in Goodman Stadium again. “I was coming up in my car and I was telling my Mrs. as well that it was a nice little touch to come back to Goodman [Stadium] for the 100th game. It wasn’t in La Salle [University] and obviously we couldn’t be in Talen [Energy Stadium].”
Chambers picked up a yellow card in the 29th minute that will mean he’ll have to wait another week for appearance No. 101. He’ll be suspended for yellow card accumulation for Friday night’s game at Hartford Athletic.
“It’s a shame that he’s suspended next week, he scored in three straight games and he almost scored a second today.” head coach Brendan Burke said.
While the team has gotten younger as he’s gotten older, Chambers influence continues to be invaluable to the young players coming through the system.
“So much of the learning that happens here happens because of him, with him putting his arm around guys and also showing them from a technical and tactical standpoint how it should be done,” Burke said. “I can’t say enough good things about him and I’m so happy that I’ve had the privilege to work with him for so long.”
One of those players who has benefit from Chambers’ influence has been Zach Zandi, who despite being a rookie is one of the older players on the roster having turned pro after finishing his college career at Villanova.
“He’s a great leader and a great player on the field, and for my rookie year he’s been a great mentor for me,” Zandi said. “I’m trying to just learn from him as much as I can. The 100th cap and all-time leading goal scorer for the Steel I think really just shows how great of a player he really is and how great of a person he is too.”