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Sixth Okinawa soccer player commits to playing college ball

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 31, 2018

Ilijah Washington hasn’t played on the same soccer pitch with both his older brothers, Iseiah and Imani, since the 2015 season when all three were wearing Kubasaki green and white.

Now, the younger Washington gets a chance to rejoin them as members of the soccer team at Johnson & Wales, an NAIA school just a stone’s throw from Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Ilijah signed paperwork this week committing him to don the Wildcats blue and gold next fall. He’ll receive a partial athletic and a partial academic grant-in-aid.

“I’m looking forward to playing with them again,” Ilijah said. “But this is going to be a lot harder. The game is faster, more physical, more competitive.”

Washington joins five other seniors on Okinawa who have already committed to soccer at the college level: Lexi Klimek, Kubasaki (Midway, Ky.); Ryo Elliot, Kubasaki (Birmingham-Southern, Ala.); Adrianna Gomez, Kadena (St. Michael’s, Vt.); Judge Morgan, Kubasaki (Randolph Macon, Va.); and Quentin Moore, Kadena (Hiram, Ohio).

Two other Okinawa-based student athletes have also committed to colleges:

-- Okinawa Christian senior sprinter Sam Calvin signed a National Letter of Intent last Friday committing him to run track at Lee University, in Cleveland, Tenn. The Flames run in the Division II Gulf South Conference. Calvin is the second member of his family to run in college. His older sister, Tia, Class of 2017, runs for Division I Lipscomb (Tenn.) of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

-- Rhamsey Wyche, the last of seven children to play sports for either Kadena or Daegu, has signed for the equivalent of a full scholarship to play basketball for Western Oklahoma State, a two-year school. Wyche helped lead the Panthers to the Far East Division I basketball finals the last four years, winning in 2016 when she was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

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