Pago Youth starts defense of its title successfully

Pago Youth starts defense of its title successfully

FFAS MEDIA

Pago Youth, the men’s defending champs of the FFAS men’s National League soccer competition, successfully opened its defense of their title with a 7-0 win over Green Bay on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at Pago Park Soccer Stadium.
There are 10 teams competing in the division with Pago Youth fielding two squads while the other teams are Green Bay, Black Roses, Ilaoa & Toomata, Tafuna Jets, PanSa, CCCAS Fagasa Youth, FC SKBC and Utulei Youth.

In other games played on Saturday it was Black Roses 5, Pago Youth B 1; PanSa 4, Jets 4; Ilaoa & Toomata 3, Utulei Youth 2 and SKBC 6, Fagasa Youth 3.

It is a one round-robin format with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs scheduled for November.

Pulu Ae Ae, a top ranking matai of Pago Pago village as well as a member of the village council and also former faipule, was on hand to kick start the competition with a welcoming speech and a challenge to all the players to play their best before scoring the opening goal for 2009’s 11-a-side league through a ceremonial penalty kick.

FFAS Vice-President Sandra Herrera was also on hand to open the season with a brief speech welcoming the teams and encouraging them to play fair and play well.

Executive committee member Silasila Samuelu provided the opening prayer to start off the day.

In women’s games, defending champs PanSa edged Pago Youth 3-1 while it was Black Roses 5, Fagasa Youth 1; Green Bay 16, Lion Heart 0 and Tafuna Jets 12, Ilaoa & Toomata 0.

There are only 10 clubs affiliated with the Football Federation of American Samoa compared to last year’s 20. That has helped fill up most of this year’s competing teams with Lion Heart the only club not having a men’s team. Some teams are nearing their maximum of 25 players per squad with a host of movements that has allowed last year’s weaker teams become much stronger in this competition.

The talent seems pretty much spread all around with Ilaoa & Toomata gaining top quality players in Pepa Meredith, Maika Molesi, Nicky Salapu, Tupe Crichton and Faapale Faapale.

Meredith and Molesi both transferred from Lion Heart and also played together with Crichton on a former strong team from the past, Konika Machine. Faapale comes from the now defunct Renegades club while Salapu is a former goalie for American Samoa’s men’s International squad. He was the goalie for the squad that lost infamously to Australia 31-0. Last year they were a bottom tier team but with the addition of these players they are now considered one of the top teams of the competition.

Pago Youth is also still a threat with its returning core of players in last year’s league MVP Henry Chingfu Taase as well as key players Filimaua Fatu, Hansel Maiava and Gene Neemia. Missing from their lineup are key players who have departed the island such as Reno Amisone and Andy .

Black Roses are also strong with strong players in Dion Ott, Bob Nuusila, Sonny Filivaa and keeper Kasteel Tasele. They will get better once the transfer status of Sam Tuaoloina is ironed out with the Tafuna Jets. His addition to their squad will be a huge boost for them because of his excellent ball control and scoring abilities.

The Jets, another strong contender, were without their captain and inspirational leader Mafutaga Solofa because of family obligations last week but he will be on the squad during their next match. Returning key players for them are brothers KB and Mathew Mariota, another pair of brothers Shalom and Sumeo Luani, Harry Matau, Filipo Osa and Faofua Afasene. Once the transfer of Uasi Heleta is complete, his addition will make this team stronger. He is currently transferring from Lion Heart.

The South Korean Baptist Church’s team is also good with their best player in Gun Chul Kang performing in top form and also getting some great help in brothers Jinyong and Jin Lee. The addition of a few Samoan players on the team is proving to be a difference maker for this team with the likes of recent Jets transfer Sam Patea, Rafe Luvu, Afatasi Toefua and Alafaio Iapo.

Finally, another team that is considered top tier of the competition by the FFAS Secretariat is PanSa. They’ve got the old guard still playing in team captain Avele Lalogafuafua, Amosa Mulipola, Jason Kuresa, Niu Fasia, Tito Tuimaseve and Sam Maloata. Then they’ve got one of the best high school players out there in So’oga Fasia, an excellent ball controller in Jeremy Adams who missed the opening match as well as some new blood in Philip Wiles and Kevin Kornegay.

So’oga Fasia, Ott, the Luani brothers Shalom and Sumeo are some of the best high school soccer players at the moment and it is to these players, as well as a few others, that the association will be looking towards building its men’s U-20 team for the OFC competition next year in November, should they still be around.

Results and schedule times for games can also be found on the Fixtures/Results section of the association’s website, ffas.as.




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