FFAS > News > 2016 OCL PRELIMINARY > Utulei Youth off to Cook Islands for OCL Preliminary

Utulei Youth off to Cook Islands for OCL Preliminary

“I feel very confident with our preparation and I know the players will do their best,” explained Rev. Ioane Evagelia, president of the Utulei Youth Soccer Club.
“We have already said our farewells to Rev. Evagelia and wished him and his team the best of luck in this upcoming tournament,” said FFAS President Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet.
As champions of American Samoa, they get to take on the title holders from three other OFC Member Associations — Samoa’s Kiwi FC, Tonga’s Veitongo FC and the host country’s Tupapa Maraerenga. The four teams will play a league-format tournament with the winner advancing to the second stage scheduled for a later date this year.
“So far we’ve been training hard for about five months now, and our training has been solid, even though there were a few problems, especially for those who work,” Evagelia said. “That has been one of our major problems we faced during our training sessions, but right now it’s really good. I’m very pleased with our coaching and trainer and especially the players.”
He said that the idea of traveling to the Cook Islands “started to sink in their minds, and they started to focus on the training” sessions.
“The coaches and I have been hard on them, especially we’ve focused on fitness for the past month,” he added. Ututoa Ino is the team’s coach while Penaia Mau Kaleopa is the assistant coach and trainer and Evagelia travels as the team’s manager.
This opportunity is possible for Utulei Youth after they won the title in 2014, and in 2015 repeated as champs, meaning they will represent American Samoa at this tournament in the next preliminaries.
“Our players are very excited, especially since this will be their first time off island for most of them,” Evagelia said. “It became a morale boost for them to train hard and they can’t wait to get to Rarotonga.”
Utulei Youth travels to the Cook Islands via Samoa and New Zealand, and left American Samoa on Friday.
Their first game is scheduled Samoa’s Kiwi FC on Jan. 26 at 2:30 p.m. (1.30 p.m. local time). They face off against Tonga’s Veitongo FC on Jan. 28 at the same time and then complete their tournament fixture against hosts Tupapa Maraerenga FC on Jan. 30.
“I want to thank the association, president, CEO (Tavita Taumua) and the staff for their help to us in donating money as well as the facilities and field for our team to prepare for this tournament,” Evagelia said. “Our thanks also to our Utulei CCCAS congregation for their support of us financially and with their prayers. There were also individuals from our church that donated on top of our church and to them we give all our thanks.”
Utulei Youth FC Squad
Jonathan Faavae
Neemia Kaleopa
Iopu Kaleopa
Ryan Samuelu
Travis Pita Sinapati
Palauni Tapusoa
Ueligitone Tualaulelei
Paul Collins
Dedrick Peter Harrington
Maluolefale Faavae
Kaleopa Siligi
Leuatea Siatuu
Kome Tomasi
Pesamino Victor
Talalelei Faalavaau
Elama Faatonu
Gun Kang