North Park Univ of Chicago recruiting student athletes
Representatives from North Park University are on island this week scouting out student athletes who may want to attend their school. Leading the contingent is the university’s head football coach, Mike Conway.
“We came here with the idea that we would try to provide some opportunity for the young people from the island to have a chance to go to a four year school,” said Conway.
Conway explained that there are currently nine football players playing for North Park that are from the territory and five more non-football students, for a total of 14 kids from American Samoa attending the school.
“We want our kids to be happy, we want them to be successful and we want them to have a good experience — and if they are happy, we are happy,” he said.
“We are a Christian University, we are very small, and so we have a good opportunity for kids to get a personalized education. We have good Christian values and I know that is important to the kids here on island. Faith, family and the future success of the young people on this island, is what is most important and it is the same thing with us,” he said.
He stated that the school has embraced the Fa’a Samoa through the American Samoan students. A Polynesian Haka is even performed before football games led by the nine Samoan players.
Two of those Samoan football players who made the trip with the contingent are 2012 graduates of Tafuna High School Filoisamoa Langkilde and Epafara Moananu.
Langkilde stated that when he first spoke with Coach Conway about two years ago, he was really impressed. “Everything that he had to say about the school is what I was looking for and I believe it was God’s plan that led me there,” said Langkilde.
Langkilde had been attending Austin Peay State University (Division I AA) located in the state of Tennessee and after his first semester, transferred to North Park University. “So far, my experience there has been great. I really enjoy playing football there,” said Langkilde.
Moananu who is also a transfer student, transferred from Savanah State University (Division I AA) located in Georgia, stating that he really enjoys the environment at North Park and likes the coaching staff. “I really enjoy being there. I have a chance to play with my best friend Filo again on the field. I know it was God’s plan for both of us to be here together,” he said.
Both Langkilde and Moananu said that they would like to give a shout out to all of their family members and friends here in American Samoa and would like to thank all of those who helped them learn the game of football —which in turn helped them get to where they are today.
Coach Conway also said, “Football is a game. It is not life or death. We are in the business of helping get these kids their education, helping them become stronger people of stronger character and that is a big deal with us. Football is a fun thing they are doing. We are building a program and we are doing it with the right kind of people and with the right kind of foundation in mind and our Samoan students and Samoan football players are a huge part of our foundation that we are building right now,” he said.
North Park University is located in Chicago, Illinois and enrolls just over 3,000 students. They are a Division III school and their mascot is the Vikings. If there any high school students who would like to know more about North Park University they can visit their website at: www.northpark.edu for more information. The group that arrived this past Monday will be here throughout this week.
They are also working closely with the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs Sports Commissioner Ethan Lake, who is helping them contact some of the student athletes on island. You can also contact Lake at 770-1006 to speak with the North Park University team.