It’s no surprise that Jyson Breitbarth followed the jet-setting ways of his siblings and found a college far from home.
Breitbarth, a Hilo High senior and soccer goalie, signed with Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., where the Hawks finished in last place in the 10-team conference.
He served as his own recruiting coordinator, putting together a highlight tape, and the Hawks were the first to respond.
It helped Breitbarth that he not only had exceptional lateral movement and sure hands but a personable demeanor as well, when connecting with coach Chad Miller.
“As coach Miller and I talked more, he offered me a full tuition scholarship,” Breitbarth said. “I don’t know who liked the scholarship more, me or my father (Brian). Coach Miller liked my extension and how my hands are precise with the ball. He also liked my form and how I was able to cover space between the posts.
“I feel like their soccer program is suitable for me. The campus location is very convenient, and I have family in the area. The school has many different programs of study that also interest me.”
He hasn’t made an official visit to the school but has scoped out the facilities online.
The Hawks don’t play in the middle of a cornfield Breitbarth discovered.
“I did my search on YouTube of what the campus is like and it’s very spiffy,” he said. “I like it very much.”
His two older siblings set a high bar for him.
Jordyn Breitbarth, a 2014 Hilo graduate, played softball and soccer at Dakota County Tech, a junior college in Minnesota and transferred to Wayne State, a Division II school in Michigan.
Josh Breitbarth, a 2016 Hilo graduate, spent two years at Iowa Central Community College and transferred to Simpson College, a Division III school in Iowa.
“My siblings were a humongous influence all my life. My competitiveness started at a young age, stickball in the yard,” he said. “Ever since then, I loved competing. They were both able to get scholarships out of high school, and my competitiveness wasn’t going to let me finish high school without one either.”
He’s thankful his mom, Lori Breitbarth, never stepped in and told his older siblings to take it easy on him.
“It just made me work harder,” he said. “They were the key role models who helped shape me into the type of athlete I am today.”
Jordyn is at physical therapy school in Nebraska, where she is working on a doctorate. Josh is finishing his senior year with online classes.
Breitbarth is also adjusting to his new routine during the stay-at-home mandate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s weird. I’ve never slept so much or ate so much in my life, but it is what it is,” he said. “I try to make the best of it, to stay in shape and lift with what I call weights at my house and improvise a lot. I kick balls into the soccer net often, so I don’t lose my touch.”
He’ll take general studies and figures to major in natural resource management.
The family has taken to trips to the Cornhusker State before. Still, it isn’t Hawaii, where beaches and warm weather are suitable to his taste.
“My family has taken trips near the area every other summer to visit relatives, so I am familiar with a few things,” he said. “I will still be excited when I see a squirrel. I’m worried that I’m going to have a hard time finding the beach and 80 degree year-round weather. But who knows, maybe the snow that comes with the negative 10-degree wind chill won’t totally suck.
“As long as I get sent my spam and rice in the mail, I should be able to hold up.”
No matter how far he goes, he’s still the local boy at heart.