Technical Director Ruben Luvu (left) and
Competition Manager Uinifareti Aliva with the
new challenge cups. [FFAS MEDIA/Brian Vitolio]
The challenge system is one of two new aspects of the national league with the first one the usage of the promotion/relegation system used by some of the world’s top leagues including such as the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga, to name a few.
The President’s Cup, a knockout cup tournament first introduced in 2010 for the men only but not held in 2011, will be reinstituted and will also be held in the women’s division as well.
“Our staff looks to improve our main competition every year to make it more interesting for our clubs and these new changes were given an emphatic stamp of approval by the executive committee and I,” said FFAS President Iuli Alex Godinet.
When these new changes were made known to the member clubs during the technical meeting held on August 6, the presidents and coaches nodded with approval.
“Already our competition for 2012 is off to a great start with the club presidents and coaches really happy about the format,” Iuli pointed out.
“I know with these new changes introduced our clubs will train harder and prepare well for each game, especially when challenging for the cups,” said FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua.
“This is one method our technical department can use to improve the game in American Samoa as well as the talent because the clubs will work harder at making their players better.
“This will also help to make our teams much stronger and technically sound for the O-League competition,” Taumua added. “It also helps improve the overall development of our sport in the American Samoa.”
Pago Youth swept it all last year with its men and women’s teams winning the 2011 National League titles in the finals.
This system applies to the men’s competition only with eight teams in the top-flight division and eight in Division 2.
It was made known to the clubs during the 2011 competition that the top eight would be placed in the top flight competition and the bottom eight, as well as any new teams, into the bottom.
Both divisions will compete in a two round-robin schedule with the team completing the season with the most points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss) to be crowned divisional champions.
The champions of Division 1 will also be known as champions of soccer in American Samoa and have the right to represent the territory at the OFC 2013 O-League Preliminary tournament.
The bottom two of Division 1 and the top two of Division 2 will compete in a playoff tournament in 2013 to determine which top two teams will be promoted or remain in Division 1 and which bottom two will be relegated or remain in Division 2. The points system will be used during these playoffs.
The top-flight teams are defending champs Pago Youth A, Vaitogi United, Kiwi Soccer, Pago Youth B, Black Roses, Utulei youth, Lion Heart A and Tafuna Jets.
Division 2 consists of Vaiala Tongan, PanSa, Lion Heart B, Ilaoa & To’omata, Atu’u Broncos, Green Bay, FC SKBC and Taputimu Youth.
Three cups will be introduced into the FFAS National League for 2012: one for the men’s top flight division, one for Division 2 and a third one for the women’s competition.
A draw was held on August 6 and conducted by Iuli, FFAS Technical Director Ruben Luvu and FFAS Competition Manager Uinifareti Aliva to determine the cup holders and challengers for the August 11 season opener.
“The holder will put up the cup each week to be challenged and there is a possibility that a team may never challenge for the cup at all,” Iuli explained. “These games will be the last ones each Saturday and good luck to you all.”
In Division 1 Utulei Youth came out as the first cup holders and will have to defend it against the two time defending champs, Pago Youth A.
In Division 2 new club member for the year 2012 Taputimu Youth drew the lucky No. 1 to signify their group’s cup holder and will put it up against Lion Heart B.
As for the women, Ilaoa & To’omata are the initial holders and will play against Kiwi Soccers.
“These games will be a big draw especially with other teams rooting on for a winner of their choice so that they could challenge for the cup the following week,” Taumua explained.
PRESIDENT’S CUP COMPETITION
This knockout cup competition, to be played after every three rounds of the National League, will pit all of the men’s teams against one another.
It will be divided up into four groups with the best team from each group advancing to the playoffs.
The same goes for the women’s competition, as they will be broken up into groups with the top teams going on to the next round.
“I want to wish all the teams the best of luck for 2012,” Iuli said.
The competition is slated to end in mid-December.