This is only the beginning – our ASAFF Program needs to expand and grow
New Zealand welcomed American Samoa with open arms according to some of the players on the American Samoa America Football Federation (ASAFF) Team and their effort to give them a game to remember was successful, after they schooled the Kiwis with American Samoa’s 20-point victory — 30-10. Samoa News notes that earlier this year, members of the New Zealand American Football Federation (NZAFF) were in the territory promoting their efforts in American football.
According to ASAFF President Ethan Lake, “when New Zealand found out that we were coming to Tahiti, they asked us if we could come through New Zealand, and play a game against them, before making our way to Tahiti." Other members of the ASAFF told Samoa News that New Zealanders were so anxious to play our local boys, that they were willing to do anything to make that match up happen.
Then this past Saturday, indeed the war against the Samoans and the Kiwi's on the gridiron came to life – the expectations and determination from the players on the American Samoan team were precise and they talked about it with Samoa News during at the Pago Pago International Airport, just before they departed.
Named as the Most Valuable Player of the Game was American Samoa's Ryan Pa'aga of Nu'uuli, a former Tafuna Warrior and former American Samoa All-Star playing in the Samoa Bowl competition.
Samoa News spoke to American Samoa's quarterback, Daniel Fereti about his expectations while in New Zealand and he said, "We really haven't had a serious practice as a team during our time on island – we were more focused on trying to fundraise to make this trip possible, so we can show everyone who doubts us, that Samoans were made to play football."
ASAFF Quarterback Daniel Fereti who led team American Samoa to their first international victory in a game against New Zealand this past Saturday – American Samoa defeated New Zealand 30 - 10.
Fereti added, “Even though we haven't had practice, we believe that the sport of American Football is one of our main sports on island – the game of football is our game. But leading up to our game against New Zealand, it's more of a mental preparation for us. Everyone on the team understands the game of football, they're all experienced players – it's just the matter of who can catch up to speed and pick up our plays in a short amount of time.”
Samoa News also interviewed former Samoana Shark who is one of the star players on our ASAFF Team – Brandon Salanoa, who told Samoa News that our local team would dominate any team within our region in the sport of American Football. "We are taking an awesome group of players, and I have a strong feeling that even though we haven't had enough time to get together as a team, everyone on the roster has played football before – so we're comfortable with our chances."
Salanoa continued, "It’s funny that these other countries want to challenge us – but we already believe in ourselves and we've been in the game of football much longer – I know we'll win without a doubt."
In their win against New Zealand last Friday, ASAFF quarterback Fereti threw for three touchdown passes as he led the American Samoan 'Eagles' to their first International victory.
Fereti and some of the American Samoan players reflected on the fact that the American Samoa American Football Federation (ASAFF) program is in deep need of our local support, and the program needs to expand and grow in the years to come – to not only give our graduated student athletes another shot at a college career, but it'll also give American Samoa a chance to display some of the finest talents here on island during these international competitions.
Signaling the fourth quarter (a tradition here on island) in the Land of the Long White Cloud, just before they won their first international victory over the Kiwi's 30 - 10. [photo: Chocajoe Media]
He said, “The problem right now is that there's hardly any support from our local communities and businesses as well – but I understand this being our first year to have something like this, but we need those experienced high school coaches to step in and continue to work with us in this program as they've done during our time in high school."
Fereti continued, "We’ve recently seen Vincent Ta'ala get his second chance at a college career – he was selected out of this program. You never know if this might be another chance for some of us at another shot at college level or higher, to some of the recruiters and coaches who never saw us before when they came down."
The ASAFF quarterback sent his acknowledgments and thanks on behalf of his team and ASAFF to all of those who've been supportive of this effort “as of now I'm not familiar with all of our sponsors – but I would like to thank all of those who lent us a helping hand and supported us with the funding of our airfare."
Claiming the winner’s cup after defeating the Kiwi's in a 20-point victory – the ASAFF team showed international teams that American Samoa is the real deal when it comes to American football. [photo: Chocajoe Media]
He said, “By far the hardest part of our preparations was trying to finance the plane tickets – thank you so much for your support, thank you for your consideration, we're finally able to make this dream of a trip possible. Now we're going to represent American Samoa with pride and to the fullest, we promise we won't let you down, fa'afetai."