Amerika Samoa All Stars ready for Football World Cup
The Amerika Samoa All Star team is in big need of your support Tutuila and Manu’a — for their long stay in Texas in the upcoming IFAF Under 19 Football World Cup, where on the first day of the event they will be facing the USA All Star team.
Over a period of two days, beginning tomorrow, Friday morning and again the following day, Saturday morning, the team is holding their last major fundraiser — the ROAD 2 TEXAS-WHEELBARROW DRIVE.
On Friday morning, the wheelbarrow and the All Star team and officials will begin their fundraising tour at 6:00 A.M., from the eastern side of the island, and will include all the eastern villages of Tutuila; then on Saturday, the team will again begin at 6:00 A.M., only this time from Amanave, as they will make their way towards the central part of the island, covering all the villages of the western district.
Amerika Samoa All Star Head Coach Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase told Samoa News, “The help of the Governor and his staff and also the Legislative Branch has given us great hope that we will achieve our [financial] goal for our trip. However, we are still asking the public to please support our BIG Fundraiser… and [then] to complete our fundraising… a general WAVE on June 20th and then Wednesday a church service before departing the island on June 21st, 2012 for Austin, Texas. We would like to thank all the principals and the DOE for supporting our concert last month (May 19) as we enjoyed the magnificent display by all the high schools especially the Seminary from the Kanana Fou.”
Samoa News interviewed All Star Team’s Head Coach Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase on their upcoming trip.
“We have been preparing for the last couple of months for this monumental event which is new to the island. The territory is new to it because we qualified as a member of the Oceania (New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa)… in February… we just finished playing and defeating Australia — and now we are representing the Oceania League, so the preparation has been long but the dedication of the coaches and players has made it worthwhile. It is a good challenge for our local athletes, as we are preparing to play against some of the best teams in the world.”
According to Ta’ase, their trip to Texas will include over 50 members from American Samoa. “We are looking at 45 players and 8 coaches and parents who will make this memorable football trip.”
He noted that there are some returning football players from American Samoa who graduated high school last year, but are still eligible to play as they are in good condition and at the perfect age limit for the competition. “…Mr. Manu Sualevai has helped us and is a very mature player from a year ago, and Ben Langford gives us the football high IQ, which will help the entire team. Their experience at the college level is very evident in our preparation for Austin, Texas.”
Aside for their main goal of winning the round up competition in Texas, Ta’ase said they are focusing “on exposing our underclassmen to possible recruiters from the colleges who will attend the games or at least have valid film. It is a golden opportunity that these players have to display their talent to the world to judge.”
Ta’ase noted that they “are humbled and honored to be playing not only against the best team [USA], but other countries as well, and we know it is going to be treasured by our young athletes representing American Samoa.”
During the preparation stages of the All Star team, the team lost some of their key players who will not be making the trip. Ta’ase explained, “we did not see it as losing players, because they were opting for greater opportunities, so we are happy and we wish them the best of luck.”
He said that players like Destiny Vaeao and Robert Barber are attending Washington State University and they have to report in early for summer school. Also departing for military school is Ricardo Gonzales who was the 2011-2012 ASHSAA Football Season MVP and the Samoa Bowl MVP. “So these are the few players that unfortunately are not able to make it, but they have set high standards for the young players to aim at for their football dreams. The group we have put together has worked tremendously hard, and we are confident, but not over confident as we will be representing Amerika Samoa with your prayers and Tapuaiga.”
“E gau le sila i le fa’i” O se ‘au fo’i e tapua’ia e a’e manuia foi le latou taumafaiga. Samoa to mai la otou fa’amanuiaga ae maise la otou tatalo malosi mo le ‘au a Amerika Samoa Football Team, fa’afetai le alofa tula’i,” said Ta’ase — quoting a Samoan proverb.
The head coach of the All Star team wanted to shout out thanks to the many that have donated and supported them throughout their fundraising efforts.
“First, we would like to thank all the Churches especially the Reverends and Pastors and Congregations from Onenoa all away to the western side of the island. We would like to thank the Governor and President of the Senate & Speaker of the House and all Representatives and Senators. Also, to all the businesses and especially the parents and all the high school principals and Amerika Samoa IFAF President-Mel Purcell and the Samoa Bowl Committee for their assisting to this great event.
“Thank you to the First Lady Taitai Tama program for youth in action program for your donation. The Candidates running for governor and LT for their kind donations. (Faoa & Taufetee, Lolo & Mauga, Salu & Savusa, Afoa & Le'i, Save & Sandra) for the great support.
“We would like to thank all the Directors and all Departments for your support. Mr. Bill Kalasa and the stadium for the early morning and late practices at the Veteran Stadium. DOE- Dr. Jacinta Galea'i and Russel Aab and all the Deputies-School Lunch Program and the Bus Division (Levaula Lavania).
“Mrs. Katrina Elisara (Donation for Chairs) Godinet Rentals. The Skyview Store in Aua and also the ANZ Bank for their donations. All of our print workshops — Pacific Printing, Local Grafix, Tutuila Store and J-Len T's.
“The custom Design Paint shop for painting our helmets.
“We would like thank Steven & Sons and the KS Mart, TMO. We would like to thank Starkist & Panamex and Forsgren (Sports Domain) Shoe Tree (Mr. George Reid) for the donations, TMO Company and ACE and CBT for helping our the team, including ASCO Motors, Samoa Motors and Bank of Hawaii.
“We would like to say thank you to Samoana and Tafuna High School as these have been our main centers for all of our activities.”
He concluded, “last but not the least, I would like to give a big thanks to the wives of all the coaches for being patient and for their big support of our team. Also a big thanks to all the media outlets for promoting out trip and our preparations.”