Itode “Fubi” Fubara came a long way to play soccer at East Tennessee State University. He was born in the Nigerian village of Ogbema and raised along the coast in the city of Port Harcourt.
Soccer has always been a part of his life. Fubara says, “Soccer is a tradition back home, just as basketball and football are in the United States. Soccer is literally played on every street corner, and I grew up watching my brother play.”
When representatives of Clemson University went to Nigeria to recruit student-athletes, Fubara made friends with one of the coaches. That coach was a friend of ETSU soccer coach Scott Calabrese, who learned about Fubara and welcomed him to ETSU’s team.
ETSU’s young soccer team has been thriving, and Fubara has helped his team to go to new heights. In the past four years, the team earned two Atlantic Sun Men’s Soccer Championships and recently went on to their second NCAA Tournament.
Fubara was named the 2010 Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year and Atlantic Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player, and was selected three times for the All-Atlantic Sun First Team. In addition, he is a three-time Atlantic Sun All-Tournament player and has earned conference All-Academic honors each year. Recently, Fubara was nominated for the Senior CLASS Award, one of the most prestigious awards in college sports. He is the first finalist for this honor in the history of ETSU soccer.
Although he sometimes misses family and old friends, and he says, “the one thing I wasn’t prepared for was East Tennessee weather,” Fubara is happy here and has made many friends on campus. He especially enjoys out-of-town travel with the soccer team. His favorite place so far was Charleston, S.C. He notes, “The weather, the beach, and the treatment we received were incredible. That’s a trip I will always remember.”
A senior, Fubara is working on a degree in interdisciplinary studies, but about his career goals, he says, “I have always wanted to become a professional soccer player, so I hope to go that route after graduation.” If the past is a predictor of the future, he should reach his goal.
UPDATE (Dec. 16): Fubi has just been named to the prestigious 2013 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Senior College Scholar All-American Team!