FFAS > News > OFC Men's Olympic Qualifier > American Samoa U-23 team finalized

American Samoa U-23 team finalized

Twenty players have been selected with half of them having international experience under their belts and the other half first timers.
Coaching the team is Ruben Luvu, the trainer is Junior Mikaele and Uinifareti Aliva is the goalkeeper coach. The team manager is FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua.
Of the 10 experienced players, eight of them were part of the American Samoa squad that made histor on November 2011 in Samoa by helping the territory record its first ever FIFA tournament sanctioned win under the guidance of then coach Thomas Rongen of the Netherlands.
They beat Tonga 2-1 in the OFC’s 1st Stage 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifiers.
Rongen has moved on after being put in charge of the youth development program with Toronto FC of the MLS. He has wished the team “good luck.”
Of the eight that played for Rongen four of them were starters in November — team captain Liatama Amisone Jr., two-goal scorer in the qualifiers Shalom Luani, Daru Taumua and Tala Luvu with Suani Uelese getting playing time as well. The others that were on the November are Casper Kuresa, Roy Luani and Kid Bartley.
“We are relying heavliy on these experienced players to lead our players out on the field for a good result,” said Iuli Alex Godinet, president of FFAS who is currently in Tonga for the women’s OFC Olympic qualifiers.
The team has been training since January and have started their camp before departing for Samoa on March 11. Football Federation Samoa has helped by setting up a friendly set for March 13 Samoa time before the team leaves for New Zealand on March 14, Samoa time as well.
Only seven teams have registered to compete in the tournament with the draw already held. American Samoa has been pooled together with Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu in Group A while Group B consists of pre-tournament favorite New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
American Samoa’s games are: March 16 (March 15, local time) against Vanuatu; March 18 (March 17, local time) against Fiji and March 20 (March 19, local time).
The top two teams from each group advance to the semi-finals set for March 22 and the final and game for 3rd place scheduled for March 24.
The local contingent has been scheduled to arrive back in the territory March 25.
With the eight that played in Samoa in November, the other two players with experience are Michael Taumua and Ryan Petaia, both members of the U-17 squad that played in the OFC tournament last January.
Some players have been on mulitiple teams. Shalom Luani was part of four teams last year — U-17, U-20, Pacific Games New Caledonia and the OFC FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Uelese, Daru Taumua and Kuresa went on the U-20, PG 2011 and OFC FIFA World Cup tournaments.
Roy Luani went twice — U-20 and OFC FIFA World Cup qualifiers — as well as Luvu and Amisone — PG 2011 and OFC FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
American Samoa’s squad for Olympic qualifiers:
Satila TUPUA — (Vailoatai Youth)
Tevita TALIAOLI — (Vaiala Tongan)
Shalom LUANI — (Tafuna Jets)
Rafe (Tala) LUVU — (Lion Heart)
Daru TAUMUA — (Pago Youth)
Liatama AMISONE Jr. — (Pago Youth)
Michael TAUMUA — (Pago Youth)
Tafa IOAPO — (Vailoatai Youth)
Andrew MALOA — (Lauli’i Moli o le Ava)
Kid BARTLEY — (Vaitogi United)
Suani UELESE — (Black Roses)
Moe (Casper) Kuresa — (Pago Youth)
Misionare TUITAMAI — (Pago Youth)
Aliva AFELE — (Ilaoa & To’omata)
Henry (Iotamo) LAMETA — (Pago Youth)
Meafou KALEOPA — (Utulei Youth)
Ailao TUALAULELEI Jr. — (Pago Youth)
Roy LUANI — (Tafuna Jets)
Mike UNASA — (Vaitogi United)