The American Samoa Youth Futsal (indoor soccer) National team is geared up and ready to compete for the rights to play at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The young group of 10 players, ranging from the ages of 15 to 17, is representing the territory at the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament in New Zealand from Oct. 4-7, 2017. Their first opponent – the island considered to be the best at the sport in Oceania, Solomon Islands.
“I know the boys are excited to play, and we all realize that going up against the Solomon Islands is like David going against Goliath,” said Tunoa Lui, head coach of the team. “They are very good at Futsal, and it is not going to be an easy task for us especially since it’s our first game of the tournament. However, the boys are ready and excited for the tournament to start.”
The Solomon Islands are the best in the Oceania region in Futsal, and kickoff for the game against the Solomon Islands is on Oct. 4 at 1:00 PM, New Zealand date and time.
On October 5 they have two games: playing against New Zealand at 1PM and against New Caledonia at 4PM.
On October 6, they face Samoa at 10AM and Vanuatu at 4PM, before closing out the tournament against Tonga at 10AM on October 7. The team is expected to arrive back in American Samoa on White Sunday, October 8.
“We’ve gotten acclimated to the weather after having been here for two days, and everyone is healthy and doing fine,” said the team’s manager, Tavita Taumua.
Lui is assisted in the coaching duties by Talalelei Fa’alavaau.
“Playing on a wooden surface is new to all of our players, that is one big thing we have to adapt to quickly, but we’ve already had a warm up game and a practice session in so that should be helpful to our boys before the tournament starts,” Fa’alavaau explained.
The players are:
Jospeh Choi (Green Bay Soccer Club, Samoana High School)
Manu Faoa-Danielson Jr. (Vaiala Tongan Soccer Club, Leone High School)
Austin Kaleopa (Utulei Youth Soccer Club, Samoana High School)
Roy Ledoux (Pago Youth Soccer Club, Samoana High School)
Mahonri Lotulelei (Vaiala Tongan Soccer Club, Samoana High School)
Walter Pati (Royal Puma Soccer Club, Tafuna High School)
Gabriel Taumua (Pago Youth Soccer Club, Samoana High School)
Milo Tiatia (Royal Puma Soccer Club, Tafuna High School)
Kauvaha Tua (Vaiala Tongan Soccer Club, Tafuna High School)
Darryl Ulufale (Ilaoa & To’omata Soccer Cub, Iakina High School)