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Hobbs to Play for New Zealand in 2012 London

Article Written by Mathew Ratner
Published: April 24, 2012
<p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong>MIAMI (April 24, 2012)</strong> &ndash; There is no higher honor in sports than to represent your country in the Olympics and that&rsquo;s exactly how FIU senior standout <strong>Anthony Hobbs</strong> will spend his summer; representing his home country New Zealand in the 2012 London Olympics.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">&ldquo;The whole Olympic experience is something that was never on my mind growing up,&rdquo; said Hobbs. &nbsp;&ldquo;As a kid, I dreamt about playing for the top club teams in the world like Arsenal and Barcelona, and of course, playing for your national team in the world cup. Growing up I watched the Olympics and saw the great athletes compete at the highest level, but I never really thought I would be able to compete alongside of them at the Olympic Games.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">The past few years have been a worldwind experience for Hobbs. Besides being a three-time All-Conference USA defender at FIU, he competed in the U17 World Cup in Korea and most recently, the U20 World Cup in Colombia. The next step for Hobbs was the U23 Olympic Team.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">&ldquo;The more I thought about my past experiences with age group national teams, the more I was driven to reach the next step.&rdquo; Hobbs added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">In March, Hobbs was given the opportunity of a lifetime to compete for a spot in the Olympics as part of the U23 New Zealand team.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">&ldquo;Arriving in camp, I could tell there was a lot of excitement and expectation among the group, but with expectations comes nerves because we all knew what was at stake -- a spot in the 2012 Olympic Games,&rdquo; said Hobbs. &ldquo;The environment was just amazing. It was so professional, organized and competitive. There was a lot of quality within the players and the staff. Our team was made up of professionals, local players and three U.S. based players all with one goal in mind, getting to London.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">The road to London wouldn&rsquo;t be an easy one for the Kiwis who were looking to make their second-consecutive appearance in the games after having never qualified for a tournament before Beijing in 2008.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">&ldquo;I was so excited to be a part of this opportunity and what it had to offer,&rdquo; said Hobbs. &ldquo;Having the opportunity to get my country to the Olympics drove me and everyone else on my team. &ldquo;Having my whole country rally around us was an amazing feeling.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Hobbs&rsquo; drive is what ultimately landed him a spot on the Oly Whites football team. After his squad qualified for the London Games with a 1-0 victory over Fiji in the OFC Men&rsquo;s Olympic qualifier in Taupo, Hobbs was notified that he would indeed remain with the team and represent his country this summer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">&ldquo;Representing your country is the most spectacular feeling an athlete could have,&rdquo; said Hobbs. &nbsp;&ldquo;I&rsquo;m already getting goose bumps thinking about hearing the national anthem being played during the opening ceremonies. It hasn&rsquo;t quite hit me that come July 27, I could be standing next to Olympic greats like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. This is where every athlete wants to be. We [New Zealand] have the opportunity to create something special and compete for a medal at the Olympics. It is what every athlete trains years for. All of those 6:00 a.m. weight sessions, running laps and extra training are absolutely worth it in the end. It&rsquo;s only a small price to pay for what the rewards may be.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">The New Zealand native was rewarded as part of the Men&rsquo;s Group &lsquo;C&rsquo;, which features Egypt, Belarus and international soccer powerhouse Brazil.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">&ldquo;Our men&rsquo;s soccer program is thrilled to have one of the only current players in college soccer to contribute to his country&rsquo;s Olympic qualification,&rdquo; said new FIU Men&rsquo;s Soccer Coach Kenny Arena. &ldquo;Anthony&rsquo;s achievements are a tribute to his relentless hard work and dedication. Our team is very proud of him and we look forward to seeing him upon his return from New Zealand, hopefully with a medal around his neck.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Hobbs and New Zealand will take on Belarus on Thursday, July 26 in the start of the group matches at the City of Coventry Stadium one day before the official opening ceremonies. They will then face Egypt on July 29 at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester before an August 1 matchup with Brazil at St. James&rsquo; Park in Newcastle. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><em><strong>About FIU Athletics:</strong></em><em> FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 17 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.</em></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong><em>About FIU:</em></strong><em> Florida International University is </em><em>recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its </em><a href="https://fiumail.fiu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=525f0521526d43959ca18d18dd8e6216&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2ffiumail.fiu.edu%2fowa%2fredir.aspx%3fC%3d0efcc5fd9e05467b8b176404764ba894%26URL%3dhttp%253a%252f%252fmain.fiu.edu%252facademics%252fcolleges-schools%252findex.html" target="_blank"><em>colleges and schools</em></a>&nbsp;<em>offer more than 180 </em><a href="https://fiumail.fiu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=525f0521526d43959ca18d18dd8e6216&amp;URL=https%3a%2f%2ffiumail.fiu.edu%2fowa%2fredir.aspx%3fC%3d0efcc5fd9e05467b8b176404764ba894%26URL%3dhttp%253a%252f%252fmain.fiu.edu%252facademics%252fdegree-programs%252findex.html" target="_blank"><em>bachelor&rsquo;s, master&rsquo;s and doctoral</em></a><em> programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida&rsquo;s anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls 46,000 students in two campus and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. </em><a href="https://fiumail.fiu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=525f0521526d43959ca18d18dd8e6216&amp;URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.fiusports.com%2f" target="_blank"><em>FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference</em></a><em> and has 400 student-athletes participating in 17 sports. In 2010 the Panthers won their first bowl game. For more information about FIU, visit </em><a href="https://fiumail.fiu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=525f0521526d43959ca18d18dd8e6216&amp;URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.fiu.edu%2f" target="_blank"><em>http://www.fiu.edu/</em></a><em>.</em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p align="center"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">-- www.FIUSports.com --</span></p>
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