BLUESKY BRINGS YOU AMERICAN SAMOA RUGBY ON THE WAY TO HONG KONG 7s
Kamilo Soi is the Talavalu vice captain and is the oldest player in the American Samoa team. He was born in Samoa, but his family moved to Malaeloa when he was three years old.
“In 1984, my parents, Tauauve’a Ene and Lusia Soi decided to move us to American Samoa and live with my grandpa, Tuileata Mu in Malaeloa. I went to Midkiff Elementary and after I graduated my parents decided that I was going back to Samoa to continue my education there,” Soi says.
At the Midkiff prom, Soi walked Julie, and even though he claims there was nothing to it, a love spark must have gone off somewhere in Soi and Julie’s hearts that night.
“We were very young in those days and did not think of love at first sight cause after graduation, I went to Samoa and that was it”. But later on in their adult lives they ended up being pronounced man and wife.
“In 2002, I returned to American Samoa and Julie and I met again after over ten years of not seeing each other. We started dating and from there I knew that Julie was going to be the person to share the rest of my life with,” Soi explains.
In 2003, Kamilo and Julie Soi were married and they now have three children. Sons: Afuafi (10), and Brown (9), are attending their parents’ Midkiff Elementary School, while two-year old daughter, Ana Victoria stays home.
Soi began to hear complaints from his wife early in their married life about his spending a lot of time away from home playing rugby and not looking for a job.
“I told my wife to please be patient with me as rugby is what I do best. I had to use the talent that God blessed me with but at the same time I was also going out to find a job to help with family matters.”
When Soi was selected in 2010 for the American Samoa team, he says his wife then realized how important rugby is to him. “She started to understand the game better and more importantly, she began to appreciate my commitment and dedication to the sport. She is now 100 percent on board and with my children, they are my #1 cheerleaders.”
Soi has since found employment with ASCC, a job he has held for five years performing groundwork and landscaping. Julie works at the Kruse Store in Leone and for two years now, she has been taking classes at the Community College majoring in education.
During his time in Samoa, Soi attended the Nu’uausala College in Nofoali’i, the CSC in Vaisigano and the Tesese Institute of Technology in Lalovaea.
Soi is a six feet two inches tall flanker and #8 and was well known in secondary school rugby competitions in Samoa. He later joined one of the best rugby clubs in Samoa, the Vaiala Ulalei and played in the Senior A team. He also represented the SCOPA rugby club in Vaivase.
He was selected to represent Samoa in the 10-a-side tournament that was scheduled to be played at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September 2001, however that tournament was cancelled because of the 9/11 Twin Tower atrocity in New York.
He played for the Leone White rugby club when he came back from Samoa, but in 2009, he switched to the Marist Sports club in Tafuna where Soi was named captain of Marist’s 7’s and 15 men’s teams.
Soi has represented American Samoa since his selection to the Talavalu team to IRB sanctioned competitions that were held in Samoa, Hawai’i, Australia and Fiji. This year, coach Leota Setefano Fata and team management named Soi as Vice Captain.
He says his team is 95 percent fit and is ready for the tournament in Hong Kong. “We are working hard on our defense, discipline and other key areas of our game, but overall I’m happy with our preparations.”
Soi is also an accomplished volleyball player having been picked to play an inter-island tournament in Apia in the midblock position for the Malaeloa team.
He wishes to thank his parents, sisters and brothers, his family here and Samoa, his Letanoa club members, the ASCC and his ground and landscaping crew, the Malaeloa Methodist congregants, preacher, Rev. Iopu and wife Petimani Ta’avao, and the village of Malaeloa for their prayers and support during this time as they prepare for Hong Kong.
“It is heart warming for me to see all this love and care from our supporters. The team and I are overwhelmed by your support and love. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Soi comments.
“To my wife Julie and our three children, thank you for your full support and your understanding of my situation. You have sacrificed a lot of your time caring for the family while I’m away from home because of our team preparations. God bless you and our family and I will miss you very much.”
Soi also wishes to thank the leaders of American Samoa, the governor and Lt. governor, different denominations and the people for their support and prayers. “We will work hard to represent you well in Hong Kong. Fa’afetai tele lava.”