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Local boy named a finalist for the Ashe Award

Former Leone High School football star Iosua Siliva has much to be proud of. In addition to being on track to graduate in May with a 3.89 grade point average (GPA) in Agriculture-Sustainable Development from the Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, the Leone native has been named a finalist for the 2014 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award, which is an annual award given by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.


According to, “The finalists were chosen from over 600 minority student-athletes nominated by their respective institutions. To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport; maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2; and are active on their campuses or in their communities. This year the NCAA Office of Inclusion has partnered with Diverse to present this standout class of scholar athletes.”


A defensive end for the APSU Governors and sporting #91, the 6-foot-5, 253-pound Siliva is a not only an accomplished athlete, the kid’s got brains.


He is a four-time member of the President's List who spent three other semesters on the Dean's List with a 3.5 GPA. Additionally, Siliva “is a three-time member of the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll and a seven-time Athletics Director's Honor Roll member. He received the OVC Medal of Honor in 2012-13 for owning the highest GPA (4.0) for his respective conference sport,” reports the


When the Govs hosted Tennessee Tech in the nationally televised 2012 season finale, Siliva was chosen as the Fox College Sports Student-Athlete of the Game. It was during his sophomore year in college that he moved into the starting lineup at defensive end, after playing much of 2012 season inside.


Last season, Siliva was named to the Senior Bowl Preseason Watch team and Phil Steele’s Preseason All-OVC team. Among his long list of accomplishments — both on and off the field — Siliva was named to the FCS Athletics Directors Association All-Stars in January. A month earlier in December, he was picked as Capital One Second-Team Division I Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Prior to that, he was named to the Capital One District 3 Academic All-District team, his third such selection.


Siliva is considered one of Govs’ top contenders for post-season honors, the APSU website calls Siliva a “high-energy performer and… a tireless worker in the weight room.”


Before he graduated as a Lion in 2010, Siliva played defensive lineman for Coach Pati Pati Jr. and he also participated in the Samoa Bowl VII "Back to the Roots" match up on New Year's Day where he returned an interception for 50 yards for a touchdown and also recorded a quarterback sack.


Twenty-one-year-old Iosua Siliva was born on June 2, 1992 and is the youngest of five children born to Tui and Maliumai Siliva of Leone.


“Glory to the Lord God for His blessings upon Iosua,” said his parents. “He’s been a very quiet yet, a hard working student in school.”


His older sister Siliala Siliva told Samoa News yesterday that upon hearing the good news about her brother being named an Ashe Award finalist, their entire family embraced the “exciting news.”


She said, “It is just wonderful to hear that my baby brother has accomplished so much and we are very proud and happy for him. As far as we know, he is the first Samoan to ever achieve such a feat.”