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Passion for sports still strong for JBLM's CYS coach

Michael Washington, a former Army private first class, entered into the world of coaching youth sports

Michael Washington directs his daughter Victoria, 6, during a JBLM CYS youth basketball practice at Hillside Elementary School on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Jan. 11. JBLM PAO photo

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Three years ago, Michael Washington, a former Army private first class, entered into the world of coaching youth sports. He and his wife, Britni, now an Army sergeant with 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 62nd Medical Brigade, were station at Fort Hood, Texas, where there was a shortage of soccer coaches.

His oldest daughter, Vivian, was on the Child and Youth Services team that needed a volunteer coach. The coordinators asked the parents. While Washington was thinking no, his daughter didn’t have to twist his arm too much outside of a “Dad, please?”

“I YouTubed a lot of soccer drills, but I loved it,” Washington said. “YouTube has everything. I can find it on YouTube.”

He continued to be a volunteer coach for both soccer and basketball when his wife was transferred to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in December 2016. Sports have remained a big part of Washington’s life, especially when his three oldest children — Vivian, 12, Vanessa, 9, and Victoria, 6 — are involved with youth athletics.

Washington left the Army through a Medical Evaluation Board in 2009 due to a blown knee. But he’s just as busy as the stay-at-home father with five children — including Kennedy, 1, and Christian, 9 months. He’s also been coaching teams of 5- and 6-year-olds, and 9- to 11-year-olds in both basketball and soccer.

“It’s something that I enjoy — I love it,” Washington said about coaching. “I have five (children), so it’s not like I’m not patient. I’m very patient, so that’s a good thing.”

Another good thing is Washington has experience playing sports before he joined the Army in 2006. He grew up playing football and basketball all through high school in San Antonio.

Washington played one season of junior college basketball at Odessa Junior College before playing NCAA Division I basketball for Florida Gulf Coast University for the 2005-06 season. Despite limitations due to his knee, he enjoys teaching the basketball fundamentals to the younger children.

The older children, on the other hand, tend to challenge him a little more often.

“When you get to the 9- to 11-year-olds, they want to test you and play,” Washington said. “As far as mobility is concerned, I’m not there. But I can still shoot. It’s just like riding a bike.”

Coaching youth at JBLM CYS has developed a passion to coach sports as a career. At the moment, Washington said he is focused on being a dedicated husband and father of five. He plans to eventually go back to school to finish the last two years needed to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Washington’s hopes is to be able to start working his way up as a freshman-level high school basketball coach and later become a varsity head coach. But he wants to wait until his wife is finished serving in the military and the family decides to go back to Texas.

“I know I’m not getting any younger, but I also don’t want to start the high school season and all of a sudden, my wife says we’re going to Hawaii,” Washington said.

Sign up to coach

JBLM’s Child and Youth Services is always looking for volunteer coaches for the various youth sports programs it offers. There is currently a need for soccer coaches for the season that begins Feb. 12.

For more information on becoming a youth coach for JBLM CYS, call 253-967-2405.

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