The Fagaitua Viking Team — Varsity and JV divisions. The Vikings hold last year’s ASHSAA Football Champion title, and will be coming out strong this year to defend it. They are the only high school in the territory that have kept their head coach from last year — they are still under the leadership of Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase.  [photo: TG]

The American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) football season kicks off this morning, bringing its official 2012 – 2013 Football Season at the Veterans Memorial Stadium to the forefront of the community.

The first game? The reigning Champions, the Fagaitua Vikings from the East side. They will be making their way back onto the field to defend their Championship title.

All the local high school teams have all hired new head coaches, except for Vikings which is still running under the direction of Head Coach and World Team Coach Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase, who some of the new head coaches say, “Pooch still has the system”.

The only head coach who hasn’t been replaced on island was a man of very few words, when it came to our interview as he discusses his team preparations throughout Spring and Summer. 

Ta’ase, along with his brother Bone and Sagapolutele have devoted the majority of their time coaching the Amerika Samoa Under 19 All Star team that placed 5th overall in the IFAF Under Championships in Texas. As a result, he had to leave his Vikings team in the hands of his coaching staff, Vondincklage, Hisatake, Ta’ala and Fa’alologo.

When asked by Samoa News how his team have been preparing to defend their title for the upcoming season, Ta’ase responded, “gosh, we were not able to have Spring practice due to the fact that we were occupied with the Amerika Samoa preparations that traveled to Texas this Summer, so the Summer came and is now gone, and we are still trying to feel where we are at right now.”

According to Ta’ase, he was not able to make any changes to his team “due to the time.”

He said, “we have dealt with challenges similar to all the other teams, and that is not having enough players on board, and commuting to and from practices. As of now, we have 35 players for Varsity and 30 for the Junior Varsity division. Our numbers could have been better, but we will compete with what we have.”

When asked if the Vikings are ready for the upcoming season, Ta’ase responded, “time will tell, and with the play off format and the short season, hopefully this will help us catch momentum down the stretch.”

He added, “the Vikings goal this year is to stay healthy and enjoy the game of football. We are just asking ASHSAA and the those with authority above to please implement stricter guidelines for the safety of the players after the games, safety should be a top priority.”

Ta’ase wanted to acknowledge those who have had their backs throughout their preparation stages, like the pastors of the Falelima i Sasa’e, all the parents, families and friends and the motorist who picks up their players after practice.

Samoa News understands the Department of Education has made some major changes to the upcoming football season, but is unable to confirm the changes by press time.

Samoa News huddle coverage of the 2012- 13 ASHSAA football season is brought to you by Coca-Cola and Powerade, distributed exclusively by GHC Reid & Co. Ltd. ‘Oloa O Leala’, Your Family of Fine Beverages.


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