Team Wellington’s All-American defender

Anthony Hobbs has played a crucial role in Team Wellington’s road to the 2016 OFC Champions League final. The 24-year-old been a rock at the back for the 2015 runners up.

Hobbs is not new to Champions League football following his stint with Auckland City in last year’s title winning campaign.

Prior to that the former youth international also had spells in Spain and the United States where he distinguished himself as an All-American graduate.

“I went to University in the States and played in the College system,” he says.

“In America the coaches keep an eye on their players and nominate the best ones from all across the country to be named in an all-American team.

“It’s quite an honour and privilege to be part of that because it’s an award for both your on and off-field actions. For Kiwis it doesn’t happen often, so it’s something I will keep with me forever.”

After graduating, Hobbs moved to Oregon to play for current MLS champions the Portland Timbers. He says that was another amazing experience.

“Before I went there I didn’t know what to expect. What a great club, they have the best supporters in the States.

“In my first game there were about 5000 fans inside the stadium two hours before the game. Every match is a sell-out the atmosphere is brilliant,” he says.

“If you want to play in the MLS you want to play for Portland the fans make you feel really special.”

While playing for the Timbers Hobbs was spotted by Spanish scouts and an opportunity presented itself to move to Barcelona for a spell with CF Gava, a feeder club for La Liga side Espanyol.

“I had never been to Spain before and I didn’t speak Spanish but it’s one of the best footballing country in the world so of course I went over there for a half a season before my visa ran out.”

Hobbs believes playing overseas is a crucial part of his footballing education and a return to Spain is still in on the cards.

”I have stayed in touch with the club and they are looking for promotion right now so if they get promoted I wouldn’t mind to go back there.”

The Team Wellington defender has a proud footballing pedigree with his father Keith earning eight caps for New Zealand.

Hobbs says he is keen to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

“Obviously he is a huge role model for me. Growing up I always went to watch him play. Then he coached my team when I was a kid. So I look up to him, I want to do what he did and play for the national team.”