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A.S. Men’s U-17 squad heads to OFC Championships

The team of 20 players and five team officials flew to Apia, Samoa this morning at 8 a.m. and will catch a connecting flight to New Zealand around 1 p.m. today.
The tournament kicks off from January 8-19 and will be held at Albany’s North Harbour Stadium.
“We are extremely confident in this young team representing American Samoa and Football Federation American Samoa,” said Iuli Alex Godinet, FFAS President. “They went through a long selection and training process under the guidance of their coach Ruben Luvu.”
Rev. Samuelu Areta of the Futiga Methodist Church challenged the players to give it their best and to push back if being pushed instead of giving way when pressure is applied.
Areta and the Futiga Methodist church welcomed the team on Sunday, January 2, 2011 during their evening service to pray for their safe travel to and from New Zealand.
A record 10 teams are competing in this tournament that will see the winner heading off to the men’s U-17 FIFA World Cup Mexico 2011.
American Samoa is grouped with tournament favorite New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. The other group consists of the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, New Caledonia and Tonga.
“We are in a very tough group but are looking forward to the challenge and especially the experience to be gained from competing in this tournament,” Luvu said. “We are going to give it our best shot and that’s all we’re asking from our players, to give it their best.”
Because New Zealand is a day ahead all days mentioned here for their scheduled games are local time.
American Samoa takes on Fiji at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 for their first match; on Jan. 11 they take on Papua New Guinea at 4 p.m.; Jan. 13 they face New Zealand at 1:30 p.m. and Vanuatu on Jan. 15 at 3 p.m.
The winner of both groups advance to the championship match set for Jan. 19 while the second best teams play in the match for 3rd and 4th place.
The other team officials are Silasila Samuelu, Luaao Wasko, Siaosi Matagisila and Talalelei Fa’alavaau.
The players are Abel Fata, Conrado Siligi, Eleama Fa’atonu, Franky Luvu, Kaleopa Siligi, Keniseli Tupuola, Kid Bartley, Mark Ieremia, Michael Taumua, Palauni Tapusoa, Ne’emia Kaleopa, Panweichi Kaleopa, Paulo Paulo, Ruben Luvu Jr., Ryan Paaga, Ryan Petaia, Shalom Luani, Taufaiula Mavaega, Tia Sione and Destiny Vaeao.

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