“FAI IA MAFAI” IS OUR MOTTO FOR THE WORLD CUP, SAYS COACH “POOCH”
Team American Samoa’s Head Coach is looking for 39 committed and dedicated team players for their All Star Team that will play against the best USA team in the Under 19 World Cup of Football, in Austin, Texas, this June.
All Star Team Head Coach Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase told Samoa News, when asked if the same team would compete in Texas, "the positions are there, it’s the player's job not to lose it."
“The coaches who traveled earned their spots especially after paying their own fare to Australia for the qualification game,” said Sua'ese.
Sua'ese said they are extending invitations to 6 players and also looking into underclassmen players as it would provide a great opportunity to expose themselves for college scouts.
So with the 39 players, it is their job to lose by not being dedicated or committed to play against the best team from USA, said Sua'ese.
Team American Samoa’s All Star team returned triumphant, this week, from the Under 19 Championship qualification game against Australia, held in Brisbane two weeks ago.
Sua'ese recalled the team didn’t have an easy time in Australia, after too much time away from the field, due to their flight schedule. “The preparations were hectic, especially the first day we checked in, and bam, we went on a hot sunny day. The guys were gasping for air especially with all the buffets and sodas they consumed during our layover at Tanoa and Aggie Grey's Hotel. Then during our layover in Nandi, Fiji, we were also catered to a buffet at the hotel and it was good”.
With the time lost due to their flight schedule, the players had an even harder time trying to get back onto the field. “Yes, the first day of running them and trying to get the jet lag out of their systems and trying to accustom them to the weather was very vital for our preparation. All eight coaches did a great job of working the boys back in, and from bed checks to hotel and airport check ins, they did an outstanding job.”
Last minute changes to the team were also necessary. "When we found out that Ricardo Gonzales wasn’t going to make it due to his obligations as Fagaitua High School’s Task Force Commander, we had to make a sudden change to have Fa’asao Marist’s Gabriel Collins and Lolagi Fa’aloua of Nuuuli Wildcats play quarterback, and they did an outstanding job, and props out to Kanana Fou’s Faafouina Sitagata for stepping up. We would also like to credit the two quarterbacks for stepping up, and the entire team for a job well done.”
“The Australian team came out firing at us and stopping us for a couple of series, but we adjusted to certain formations that allowed us to move. Many do not know, but our defense led by Defensive Coordinator Pati Pati Jr. along with Meafou Sagapolutele and Bill Ena did a fantastic job causing seven turnovers, and scoring 14 points along with a blocked punt, and they even gave us a lot of turnovers in Australia’s red zone that helped us score faster,” said Sua'ese.
When asked if there was any correlation between the 93–7 victory over the Aussies and the 30–0 loss of American Samoa against Australia in a past FIFA Qualifying match, Sua'ese responded ,”the truth be told, we never knew the score of the game until after the game because they did not have a working scoreboard due to the weather conditions, but we were happy we got the big “W” for American Samoa, and now we are looking forward to playing against USA.”
Sua'ese said their trip to Australia gave his players and coaches time to interact and bond. “The trip did give us some time to spend together, and we were able to walk the down town area and attend a church service while we were in Apia. The coaches also had a good time spending time with each other”.
Sua'ese sent out their team's appreciation for everyone's prayers and well wishes that allowed them to travel to and from Australia safe and sound. He thanked all for the monetary donations that helped the team achieve their mission. Special thanks were given to Lt. Governor Faoa, for hosting their Chinese dinner in Australia
Our motto is “Fai ia mafai” for the upcoming World Cup of Football” proclaimed Sua'ese.