Chaun Maiava earns All-College Conference Honor – 2nd in a row

Former Tafuna Warrior is also under scrutiny of NFL scouting radar
tony@samoanews.com

“Football Island” – American Samoa is living up to its reputation of breeding football players for the National Football League (NFL) as well as at the collegiate level – with yet, another ‘Son of Samoa’ recognized with top honors in the sport of football in the NCAA Divisional competition for the 2016 season.

Former Tafuna Warriors ‘bruising’ Middle Linebacker — Chaun Maiava, who has been anchoring North Park University’s ‘Vikings’ defensive unit, earned the All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Second Team Defense Honors for the 2016 North Park football season.

The junior linebacker for the Vikings is from the villages of Fogagogo and Afono, and is the son of Deputy Commissioner Tuavao Vaimaga Maiava of our local Department of Public Safety and Tumafua Maiava Ili’ili and Afono – Maiava is a graduate of Tafuna High School, class of 2014.

North Park University also congratulated a teammate alongside Maiava – Matt Difecchio — as they both earned the All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Second Team Defense Honors for the 2016 North Park Football Season. Unlike Deficchio, this was Maiava’s second recognition in a row from the All-College Conference.

Samoa News spoke to Chaun’s father, Deputy Commissioner Vaimaga, who said, “First and foremost is giving the Almighty God thanks for giving Chaun the talent to excel in sports/ academic. I was so happy and proud for Chaun’s achievement — to earn his second in a row All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Second Team Defense Honors for NPU.”

Vaimaga said that he told his son, after graduating from THS, and on his way to NPU “that he should never forget his roots, family, culture, and everything that brought him this far in life – never forget to be humble before God and He will guide him through his future endeavors, in academics and sports.”

The proud father said, “There was no doubt from day one – from when he played flag football, to the AYFS level, to the high school level as well, I believed that Chaun would live up to his passion for the game.”

As of now, Chaun Maiava is slowly rumored around the professional level of football, as he’s been under the NFL Scouting Radar, as of last year. Maiava visited by the Chicago Bears as well as the Minnesota Vikings scouts with the mindset to draft him up to the next level – but he chose to finish off his senior year at NPU and graduate.

During Samoa News interview with Chaun Maiava about this visitation, he said that “They had me take a wonderlic test, a test every prospect takes – they also did measurements as well as timing my 40-yard dash. They told me that they were going to come back after my Senior year.”

Samoa News asked Vaimaga about his son’s invitation to the 2017 NFL Combine and his high ranking, as one of NCAA Division II’s top defensive prospect in the region.

Chaun’s father said, “I advised him to be mentally and physically prepared at all times, and never doubt his talent given to him by God – and always remember that everything is possible through God, and he will succeed.”

On the honors he has received, Maiava told Samoa News, “Reflecting back on the hard work I put in to earn All-College honor twice – pushing myself everyday to go the extra mile; another huge factor … were the coaches training me to be the best I can be and striving to make me a better athlete.”

He said, when he first joined NPU’s Vikings football team after graduating and departing the territory, he was “pretty nervous and excited at the same time. This was my first time going to Chicago and playing at college level.”

The football player told Samoa News, “My first thoughts were to continue to work hard and excel on the field and inside the classroom as well. I never truly thought that I’d accomplish this much, but with having the great support around me to push me everyday it has helped me get to where I am today.”

Asked about his main motivation on the field — that which turns him into the beast he is on the field; he told Samoa News, “The biggest motivation for me on that field is my family. In practice and before every game, I think of my family and this makes me want to push harder and do the best I can.”

Maiava also said, “Playing with other Poly’s on the same field always gives me encouragement. They make me feel like I am back home playing on the island.”

According to two-time All-CCIW honoree, after realizing he was under the NFL’s microscope as one of the focused prospects, he told himself that there’s still a lot of work to be done before his introduction to the professional level.

He said, “When I heard that I was under NFL’s scouting radar – I felt humbled, thankful to the Almighty God for the opportunities – I was excited, but I still knew there was a lot of work to be done.

Maiava told Samoa News that his main goal and focus right now is his academics, first before anything. He said, “I am preparing to improve my game for the upcoming season by working hard in the weight room, working on extra drills and striving in the preseason to push myself even harder.”

He said his focus at the moment is playing, and as a primary linebacker. “But I am always prepared to play any position that the coach will want me to play.”

When asked about his main goal in life, Maiava said, “My main goal is to graduate with a degree first, then pursue my dreams of playing in the NFL.”

 Chaun’s father, Vaimaga, wants to send out the family’s acknowledgement and thanks to everyone who has played a part in Chaun’s life growing up. “I would like to acknowledge all the coaches of THS football team, Oakland Salave'a, Kevin Magalei, Loso I'ailualo, Ili, Flag Football Coaches, AYF Coaches, Coach Mike Conway, all the coaches and their wives at NPU football team and his mother, Tuumafua Maiava, all who have played a part in Chaun's life up to where he stands now.

“E le galo le aufaigaluega paia a le ATUA o lo'o nono manu ina ia manuia a tatou fanau,” he said.

According to NPU’s recognition of Maiava on the school’s website – “Maiava, a linebacker from Tafuna, American Samoa, earned his second-straight All-CCIW honor as he led the team with 114 total tackles (46 solo), including 12 tackles for a loss of 40 yards. He also recorded seven sacks, forced one fumble and had an interception return for 19 yards. Maiava continued to pile up double-figure tackles week in and week out as he had five games of 11 or more tackles, including a season-high 17 (10 solo) against Millikin University in Week 5.”

DiFecchio, the co-recipient of the All-CCIW award, was also recognized. “DiFecchio meanwhile certainly made his presence known in the defensive backfield as he befuddled opponents and thwarted numerous drives with a team second-best 75 tackles (42 solo) and had 2.5 tackles for a loss of three yards. His four interceptions, including one, which led to a scoring drive in the Vikings' 41-13 rout of Anderson University in the season opener, led the team.

“As a tandem, Maiava and DiFecchio each ranked in the CCIW top-ten in total tackles with Maiava leading the conference overall, the first Viking to do so in over 11 seasons. Maiava's tackles for a loss also ranked top-ten and Difecchio led the conference in forced fumbles (3).

History

Chaun Maiava started making a name for himself, after he helped lead the AYFS Steelers to their first undefeated championship title – during the league’s debut in the territory. He was expected to be a rising star heading up to the high school level, but it wasn’t until his Sophomore year when he was transferred to Tafuna High School after attending Kanana Fou High School his Freshmen term.

When he joined the Warriors football team under the management of Head Coach Okland Salave’a, he led Tafuna High School to winning 3 undefeated ‘3-Peat’ Championship titles – as the leader of the Warriors defensive core at Middle Linebacker, and as the teams overall captain.

Maiava was highly selected to the American Samoa All-Star Football Team that faced off against Hawaii and led American Samoa’s defensive unit at his primary position.

With one more year at North Park University, Maiava has already made a name for himself with his outstanding performance – even with their teams losing records, his hard work and mind-set to consistently top his caliber of play is still continuing to bring him success.

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