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American Samoa’s All-Star Football Team — READY TO WIN!

Some of the JPS Division I Football Team members posing for a group photo while awaiting their departure this past Wednesday evening for Hawai’i – to represent American Samoa in the JPS Paradise Football Classic III in Honolulu next week.  [photo: TG]
It’s by far the most talented group to compete in the Classic

The American Samoa High School All-Star Football Team is looking to make their second appearance in the Junior Prep Sports (JPS) Paradise Football Classic III that will officially open next week Monday, January 8, 2018 – with the opening ceremony scheduled at Bladesdale Convention Center in Hawai’i.

Some members of the All-Star teams, like the Girls All-Star Volleyball Team and Head Coach Lydia Faleafine Nomura, as well as some of the Division I All-Star Football Team have already departed, while others such as Head Coach Taveuveu Kolose Ili and the American Samoa High School All-Star Football Team departed the territory Wednesday night for Hawai’i.

Coverage of the American Samoa All-Star Football Team is proudly sponsored and brought to you by Congresswoman Aumua Amata.

Team Amerika Samoa who consists of 14 players from Samoana High School, 14 players from Tafuna High School, 9 players from Faga’itua High School, 6 players from Leone High School, and 4 players from the Nu’uuli Wildcats program – were selected by the American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) according to Head Coach Ili. “ASHSAA came up with the selection process, and I think halfway through the season, they based a number of players through the schools, at the time.”

(Samoa News notes that SHS is the current reigning champions of the ASHSAA Football   League, while THS is who played against Samoana in the championship game.)

As of their preparations heading up to the JPS Paradise Football Classic III, Head Coach Taveuveu told Samoa News, “It’s been positive, the kids we have this year are very talented … there’s definitely been an upgrade. We’ve got some very athletic kids, so it sort of made everything easier this year for the coaches to mold the talent and putting everything together as far as game planning is concerned.”

He continued, “So it’s been very uplifting, very positive, it’s the holidays so the kids are also feeling that spirit – we have a very good team this year.”

This year is also the first year that the All-Star invitation has opened up to the Juniors in ASHSAA Football, which has secured the talent in team American Samoa, according to Head Coach Taveuveu. “If you base the team on just Seniors, you’re definitely not basing on talent alone, your basing on the status of the players as far as classes are concerned.”

Taveuveu added, “Last year we took some players that were Seniors, but they weren’t as good as far as the underclassmen at the same position – so this year all of these kids are ASHSAA All-Stars regardless of their status. These kids were also not only hand picked by their respective coaches, but were also recommended by all the coaches on other teams.”

He said of the bonding needed to make it ‘one team’, “As coaches, we made it a collaborative effort from the beginning – ASHSAA has also been pushing the same message, to try and make sure that the kids are a united front.”

He continued, “We’re not Faga’itua, we’re not Tafuna, we’re not Samoana – we’re team Amerika Samoa. Every chance we get we try to get the message across to the kids , and I think it’s been very positive and the kids are buying into it, to being one unit and hopefully it’ll reflect on the field.”

Samoa News asked Taveuveu about American Samoa’s focus for the JPS Paradise Football Classic III. He said, “We have to be consistent on both sides of the ball on both offense and defense – fortunately for us, we have Tala Sufia (Tafuna High School quarterback) and Vito Kitiona (Faga’itua High School quarterback) who were the only two underclassmen that we were able to take with us to the Classic last year – so they they do bring some experience as far as the JPS Classic is concerned.

“We also have a lot of good running backs and good offensive linemen that I think we’ll be able to execute the game plan that we do put it – and on the other side, on our defensive side of the ball, we have some very lengthy and fast skill position players, linebackers, as well as defensive linemen who can compete at that level.”

In conclusion, Head Coach Taveuveu wanted to thank everyone who has supported them in their preparations for the upcoming Junior Prep Sports Paradise Football Classic III.

He said, “This is the third year and we’re thankful for the invitation from Robert Faleafine as well as Lydia Faleafine Nomura and the whole JPS organization. We’re also thankful to Honorable Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and the Government of American Samoa for footing the bill … so that these kids are able to go to Hawa’ii and be a part of this excitement and to be a part of this wonderful opportunity to showcase their athleticism and abilities – as well as to putting American Samoa on the map.”

Taveuveu concluded, “ASHSAA has been wonderful, our special thanks to the DOE Director Dr. Ruth Matagi Tofiga, who has been really advocating for this to happen and she’s really been putting forth the effort that not only the players get to go – but the best of the players and the best of the coaches to represent American Samoa.

“Our special thanks as well goes out to the parents of my players and the community for putting up the money for this additional journey,” he said.