VIDEO: ONLY ONE LOCAL ON THE POLY-ALL AMERICAN ROSTER — ABRAHAM MAIAVA
Among the top athletes of the All-American Polynesian All Stars around America is the only player from American Samoa — Abraham Maiava, a Senior Offensive Lineman from Tafuna High School, chosen to play in the 4th Annual Polynesian All American All Star Bowl by Aiga Foundation.
The Polynesian All American Bowl features the top 70 athletes from across the nation and is slated to take place this Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. The Bowl Game, hosted by Aiga Foundation for the fourth time, will be streamed live on the internet at www. projectlvi.com.
(To view the video of Abraham Maiava, go to our Samoa News Facebook site or our Samoa News Youtube)
Maiava, who was chosen by Aiga Foundation to play in the Bowl, is an obvious choice — he comes from a football program that just ran an undefeated season, earning a back to back Varsity Championship title in November 2013. The offensive lineman held an Offensive Guard position and was team captain in his Senior year. He played under Head Coach Okland Salave'a.
The 6'1 245lbs Maiava, who was selected as an American Samoa All Star player to play against Hawai'i, missed the 11th Samoa Bowl (held in December 2013), to attend his sister’s graduation in the United States, and is still there — currently awaiting this Saturday’s Bowl game.
He has played for the maroon & gold Warriors since his Sophomore year at led Tafuna High School and has been a major factor in the school’s football program since his appearance.
Abraham is the son of Amani and Marie Maiava from the village of Tafuna (Faga'ima). Abraham's older brother, Lene Maiava is also a former Warrior football athlete, who is now playing for the Arizona Wildcats, after receiving a full ride scholarship to play Division-I in 2012.
Lene Maiava also played Offensive Linemen for Tafuna but under the reign of former Head Coach Bishop Jason Magalei, also led the Warriors as Captain and finished off with a championship season.
However, Abraham’s championship season is highlighted in the American Samoa HIgh School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) record book as the year Tafuna High School’s football team either broke ASHSAA records or made new ones.
Maiava will be playing under one of the two competing coaches who are both former NFL Stars. This year’s two rival Head Coaches are said to have paved the way for Samoans in the NFL today. Head Coach Jack the “Throwing Samoan” Thompson will be leading one of the All Star teams against Head Coach Ma’a Tanuvasa, who won two super bowls with the Denver Broncos.
Tafuna High School’s Head Coach Okland Salave'a recently told Samoa News, “The first time I saw Abraham on the field, knowing the background of his older brother, I just knew right away that he was more athletic than his older brother… they were both hard working kids who were always looking to get better, and that is the attitude that separates them from majority of our student athletes."
Of Maiava, Salave’a said, "as a person and a student, Abraham is a very nice kid. He is very polite; he's the type of kid who will always lend a helping hand. When all the student athletes are tired after practice and going home, he is always hanging around to make sure that if I needed help with something, even with collecting our practice gears after practice, Abraham was always there, that's the kind of kid he was."
He noted, Maiava’s character”…is something that you don't teach here, but it tells how his upbringing from home foundation is stable, and that is the one strong asset of Abraham with our program."
As for Saturday's All American Game, Salave'a told Samoa News he has faith in Maiava to continue the rhythm of being competitive, "just knowing his ability to perform, the ability to play, he is going to surprise a lot of those people out there. For any kid from here in American Samoa to have the opportunity to play a game like this in the States, this is an eye opening opportunity for them, but then it's also more of a statement game for our kids here to tell the people off island, that we can play football down here, or maybe even better than most of the kids off island."
Salave'a wants to send a message out to Maiava, who is awaiting his big game this Saturday: "Stay focused and compete. Football is all about competition. You are now playing in the Polynesian Bowl, that — we think is a step higher from any game that we have here on island, so my main message to Abraham is to compete, show them what you have, and always remember to stay focused."
The Tafuna head football coach also wanted to acknowledge those who helped him coach Abraham, resulting in the player’s success today. “For the last few years that I've been here, we have had great assistant coaches, and that's what makes this program successful.”
He continued, “You have to have assistant coaches who believe in the same method you believe in. So without my assistant coaches… the likes of coach Loso I'aulualo and coach Kevin Magalei, just to name a few, for a tremendous job every year, and I want to thank all of you for believing in me, and for believing in our kids."
"I can never say enough to thank you guys, not only the Varsity but the JV as well, because actually, that's where the foundation of Varsity is at, is down at the JV level. Thank's again to our Principal and Staff especially the students here for the great support every year during the football season.”