BLUESKY BRINGS YOU AMERICAN SAMOA RUGBY ON THE WAY TO HONG KONG 7s
There is one event that Nglam wants to wipe off his young life’s record and to forget about. He was 18-years old when he had a brush with the law. It happened in 2011, during a shield match between Nu’uuli and Avele at the Veterans Stadium in Tafuna. With just nine seconds away from the last whistle to end the game and with Avele leading on the scoreboard, referee Ponifasio Vasa from Samoa was assaulted.
Some Nu’uuli players were charged with the attack on the visiting official. They pled guilty, served time in jail and the American Samoa Rugby Union banned them for life from playing rugby.
Nglam, who played for Nu’uuli in that game told this correspondent he was standing near the fallen referee but did not take part in the beating. The police and eyewitnesses did not believe his story and he was summoned to appear in court for his involvement. Through the advice of his attorney from the Public Defender’s Office, Nglam entered a guilty plea and received a six-month probation sentence.
“I still insist that I had nothing to do with that incident. I was sorry for what happened to the referee and thought he did not deserve to be battered like that. I want my record to be cleared and sincerely hope that something like this will never happen again,” Nglam says.
He wants all local clubs to play according to the rules of the game and eliminate rough and dirty play. “After a hard match we shake hands and keep the peace,” he adds.
Nglam has a bright future in rugby. He is expected to be in Talavalu’s first lineup in Hong Kong playing in the 1st five position. This is his first year on the American Samoa team and has shown he can mix it up with the big boys in Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world.
That is why he was selected for the first time in the American Samoa team this year and judging by the way he runs during practice, he has the speed and knowledge of the game that will take him further in his young career.
“I love rugby. I played football at Tafuna High School but I think rugby is a more demanding and much harder sport to learn and execute,” Nglam explains.
He went to Tafuna High School and graduated in 2010. He served as one of the Tafuna Warriors’ captains when they faced the Samoana High School Sharks for the ASHSAA championship in his senior year and lost by a hair thin margin, 7- 6.
Nglam’s involvement in rugby came soon after he left Tafuna High. He and his Methodist youth organization formed a sevens rugby team to play in the Ta’ita’itama tournament where they won the Plate championship. In 2011, he joined the Nu’uuli rugby club and rose quickly to the top.
He also rows for the Satani fautasi. In his first race, he experienced a scary incident when their Satani submerged just minutes after the starting gun went off. The crew had to abandon their long boat and floated without life jackets in rough and deep waters about five miles out from the Pago Pago Harbor.
“I was a little bit frightened but the crew members were nearby and that gave us comfort. It took a long time for government vessels or private boats to rescue us from way out there.”
Nglam has some Chinese blood in him. “My dad, Patrick is from Apia and his father is a Chinese citizen,” he explains. The senior Patrick now lives in Long Beach, California with his three daughters. Nglam’s mom, Letauiloaamiotamali’i Lelauti died in 2004.
Nglam met his wife, Lepisi Seve through their church youth activities. Lepisi is the daughter of the Rev. Fereti Seve who was the minister of the Methodist Church in Nu’uuli recently. He has since returned to Apia to take up other church assignments.
They were married in 2010 and have a two-year old daughter who is named after Nglam’s late mom. The Talavalu player has two brothers and three sisters and works at Carl’s Jr. His wife stays home and looks after their daughter at their place in Nu’uuli that they share with one of his brothers.
Nglam represented American Samoa in the Under 19 tournament that was held in Apia four years ago. This year he was one of the Talavalu team members that played as members of the Tatoors — the team from American Samoa — that participated in the Vailima Marist Sports Club International Sevens, played at Apia Park last month.
Nglam wants to get better at his career and hopes to join an international rugby club in the future.
“I’d like to give praise to God, for without the talent that he has given me I would not be where I am today. I wish to thank our Rev. Eteuati and his wife, Maselina Tuioti, our Methodist church and youth organization, the village of Nu’uuli and my place of employment, Carl’s Jr., for their support and prayers.
“To my wife and daughter, dad, sisters and brothers— thank you for everything and for supporting my efforts. We hope to play our best in Hong Kong for the people of American Samoa.”
Below: The American Samoa National 7's team — Talavalu — was farewelled on Wednesday, March 19 at a dinner function held at the Fale Samoa at Suigaula Beach Park.
Among the invitees were Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga and his wife Pohakalani, the Governor's Chief of Staff Fiu Johnny Saelua, President of the FFAS Soccer Faiivae Alex Iuli, Bluesky Communications Country Manager Lewis Wolman, Bluesky Chief Technology Officer and House Representative Puleleiite Tufele, members of the business community, the Futiga Methodist Church choir, families and friends.
The government presented the Chairman of the American Samoa Rugby Union, Togiola Tulafono, with a check of $10,000 for the Talavalu team and its Hong Kong 7’s historic participation. Others that presented donations were the Tool Shop for $2,000, the FFAS for $1,000, and cash donations from $100- 200 were given on behalf of villages, families and friends.
The ASRU chairman also announced that for the first time, the players and coaching staff were given cash allowances, sponsored by Bluesky Communications. Half of the allowances were given to the team Wednesday night, while the other half will be issued when they return.
Samoa News joins with the Territory’s people in wishing our national team the best of luck and a great journey! God bless and keep you.