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All Stars en route to IFAF Championship

tony@samoanews.com
The American Samoa All Star Team along with World Team Coach and Head Coach of the American Samoa All Star Team Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase (far left), as they took their final team photo before departing yesterday for Australia to face the Land Down Under, to determine who will represent the World Team against USA in the World Cup of Football that will be held in Austin Texas in July. [photo: TG]

Yesterday, Team American Samoa All Star left for Apia, Samoa, transiting to Down Under to compete in the Under-19 Championship game on February 25 in Brisbane, Australia.

The Championship game is a qualifying event, with the winning team to represent the World Team against Team USA at the IFAF World Cup of Football, in Austin, Texas this June.

This is the first time American Samoa has ever competed in any IFAF event and our young team of hopefuls leave with confidence, excitement and hope, well aware they carry the hearts of their island home with them.

The 58-member sports delegation, comprised of 48 players and 8 officials, including World Team Coach and American Samoa’s All Star team Head Coach Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase and two ASHSAA officials, were ferried out on Inter-Island Airways starting at noon.

Samoa News was able to talk with the athletes who were waiting for their 2pm flight about this trip to the IFAF event.

 All Star starting quarterback Lolagi “Da Man” Fa’aloua, a senior at Nuuuli Vocational Technical High School from the village of Gataivai, was eager to see the field. “I personally am very excited about this trip, I don’t know how my teammates feel right now, but I just want to get there, and practice already.”

"This is my first time out to Australia. I am very confident we will have a good turnout come game day and I hope the weather is good out there. We don’t want any problems concerning the weather.”

All Star Free Safety Shalom Luani, out of Fagaitua High School, was asked if he was ready for the game against Australia. “I just want to play already,” answered a confident Luani, “I know we have been struggling in practice a lot, but it’s a good feeling when that struggle leads us to victory on Feb 25. I know for sure that the bonding between us players has grown more and more everyday to draw us closer like a big happy family. Even though we were chosen out of different schools, as we go out there today, I know we trust each other, and I know it's our trust in each other off and on the field, that will seal us the win.”

Carl Samoa of Fa’asao Marist High School thinks it will be a good turn out as well, “I am not being big headed, but I try not to let it out yet until after the game. I feel positive about myself, as well as my teammates. I know we’ve worked super hard in practice for the past couple of weeks, and I know we can do it.”

“I know our biggest challenge that awaits us on the football field come game day will be ourselves. The more mistakes we make, will all add up to the outcome of the game. Preparation wise, I am confident it will be a good turnout for us. When we return with the win, then I will brag, but as of now I want to keep it in myself and unleash everything on the field.”

Samoana High School’s Atufili Misi aka “Megatron” told Samoa News they are not taking the upcoming game lightly, “I know in past years when Australia came up for the Samoa Bowl, our All Star teams were able to beat them with quite distant scoring results, but we won’t be taking the past years with us to Australia.”

“I know team Australia will bring a greater challenge for us, but I humbly ask our ancestors and our people of American Samoa to please pray for us, as we go out there to represent our motherland and try to put our name out there with the big “W” at the end of the game.”



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