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Fautua Maiava Jr. – First Samoan player directly recruited from AS by Colorado Mesa

Samoana HS football standout Fautua Tufue Maiava Jr. with two of his siblings, parents Flo and Fau, and Grandma Faimalie Tua at the airport, prior to his departure earlier this month to play in the 2017 JPS Classic in Hawaii.  [photo: BC]Samoana HS #76 Fautua Tufue Maiava Jr. is surrounded by family members and friends following his final game as a Shark this past season. The Fagasa native is the first Samoan player to be directly recruited from American Samoa, by Colorado Mesa University. See story for full details.  [photo: BC]
“I love football; but my goal is to get an education and graduate”

Life is all about opportunities and surrounding ourselves with positive people and a strong support system. Nobody knows this better than 17-year-old Fautua Tufue Maiava Jr.

Fau, as he is known to everyone, is the eldest of four children born to Florence Tua and Fautua Maiava Sr. of Fagasa, Fagatogo, and Fitiuta, Manu’a.

The 6-foot-3, 270-lb. senior at Samoana High School confirmed to Samoa News over the weekend that he has verbally committed to Colorado Mesa University, a school that offered him a four-year football scholarship.

Six other schools, including Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, and Dixie State University in St. George, Utah had also expressed strong interest in Fau, but the timid teen told Samoa News that he opted to go with the Mavericks.

Fau becomes the first Samoan player to ever be directly recruited from American Samoa by Colorado Mesa University. Other Samoans have played for the Mavericks in previous years but they were all recruited from schools in the US, never from the territory.

Come this fall, Fau will be sporting the maroon, white, and gold uniform, and be part of the Mavericks squad, which finished with a 9-3 overall record and qualified for the NCAA Playoffs. Colorado Mesa, an NCAA Division II school, competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC), for which they won their second straight championship title this past season with an 8-2 record.

As with all other aspiring football players in the territory, Fau dreams of one day making it to the pros, playing in the National Football League (NFL). But he says that goal isn’t the only thing he’s working towards.

“I just want to get an education and graduate,” he said over a telephone interview with Samoa News. “It’s great and all to be in the NFL, but having a college degree, to me, is a MUST because once you get injured or get cut from a team, you will need something to fall back on.”

Fau’s journey to securing offers from colleges was not an easy one. Matter of fact, it was through the persistence of several individuals that Fau was able to play in the recent 2017 Jr. Prep Sports (JPS) Classic in Hawai’i, where off island coaches were able to see him in action.

Samoa News understands that Fau, one of the four co-captains for the Samoana High School Sharks varsity football team, was originally not on the roster for Team American Samoa. But after some hiccups here and there, Fau was able to travel to the Aloha State and play in the 2017 JPS Classic. Fau was one of only two offensive linemen to be selected from Samoana High School to play in the event.

It was thanks to ASHSAA’s program director Tumua Matu’u, Vikings Assistant Coach Bone Ta’ase, Lisa Pele, Lydia Faleafine-Nomura, Florence Wasko, and Tala Fisher, that Fau made the team — although he was not a starter.

Fau said that ‘besides losing’, his experience at the 2017 JPS Classic was ‘fun’ and he was thankful that it provided exposure for him and others on the team.

This past season, Fau was part of the first American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) football ALL-KVZK Team. Members were selected based on:

-          Regular season statistics provided by ASHSAA

-          Player performance at their position

-          Behavior on the field

-          Player contribution to their respective teams

-          Number of Impact plays

Last summer, Fau attended the All Poly Camp in Utah and the Nevada Showdown camp in Las Vegas.

Off the field, Fau tries his best to maintain good grades, with his mother pushing him all the way. His love of science has sparked a desire in him to pursue a degree in biology. This semester, he will be inducted into the Samoana HS National Honor Society.

As a boy attending SPICC in Fatu-ma-Futi, Fau learned much about the Bible and its teachings. Perhaps this is why the soft spoken teen is humble and very much adored by many.

Family members describe him as a ‘good kid’, ‘never one to start trouble’, and ‘always obeys his elders.’

When he first entered high school as a freshman, Fau started off on the Junior Varsity (JV) squad. He was eventually moved up to the Varsity squad during his sophomore year, for which he eventually became a co-captain.

“Right now, I consider myself half-way there,” Fau said, after being asked to comment about his full-ride offer from Colorado Mesa. “I really love the game, but even more so, I just want to get an education and graduate.”

Fau has three cousins who are currently attending college off-island on football scholarships, so football is in his blood. His father Fautua Maiava Sr. played defensive end for the Samoana Sharks many moons ago and according to Fau, his dad had to forego scholarship offers to stay and take care of his parents.

Just last year, Fau’s cousin Lene Maiava graduated from the University of Arizona and signed with the Seattle Seahawks, but he was released due to a knee injury.

Fau credits his success to his parents Fau and Flo, and his grandmas Faimalie Tua and Maleka Maiava. He also expressed his sincerest appreciation to Anntoinette Tala Fisher-Slade, a math teacher at Samoana HS, whom he said did everything she could to help him with scholarship applications, among other things.

Malo lava Fautua Tufue Maiava Jr.! Ia manuia lau taumafaiga