Dragons soccer star earns first Hobbs scholarship

Kubsaaki graduate Ilijah Washington, second from left, with his father, Tony, longtime Kubasaki health instructor Shane Butler and Washington's mother, Sueko, display the first Don Hobbs Friendship Award, a memorial scholarship in the name of the former DODEA Pacific athletics coordinator.


By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 20, 2018

Ilijah Washington, a Kubasaki graduate who is headed to Johnson & Wales University in North Carolina to join his brothers on the soccer pitch, has been named the first recipient of the Don Hobbs Friendship Award, a memorial scholarship named for the late DODEA Pacific athletics coordinator.

Washington was named Best Defender in the Far East Division I Soccer Tournament last month, which was won by the Dragons 4-0 over Kadena. It was the second title for the Dragons in the last three years.

The scholarship, in the amount of $500, was the first awarded in the name of Hobbs, who for 13 years served as Pacific athletics coordinator and was employed by DODEA in both the Pacific and Europe since the mid-1970s. Hobbs died on Jan. 6 after a long illness at the age of 68.

Hobbs spent the majority of his years at Kubasaki, coaching basketball from 1982-97 and teaching until 2003, before he took the athletics coordinator position.

Friends of Hobbs from the years at Kubasaki, including former coaches Jeff Pellaton, Tim Smith, Jim Shulson and his wife, the former Vicki Leivermann, contacted outgoing Kubasaki health teacher Shane Butler to inform them of their intent to award the scholarship and begin the selection process.

Kubasaki coaches were asked to nominate a senior athlete. The Okinawa Athletic Officials Association did the voting, and they selected Washington, named Kubasaki’s male Athlete of the Year, Butler said. The other nominee was Ja’Tavia Callier, selected Kubasaki’s female Athlete of the Year.

Washington said he never met Hobbs, but knew of him. “I have heard and read a lot of great things that he did for young athletes and students across the world, and to be the first recipient of this scholatship in his name, I am extremely honored, and a sincere thank you to the entire Hobbs family.”

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