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Men’s U-17 squad finalized

“We are confident in these young men have been training hard to hone their skills and level of fitness for the upcoming tournament,” explained Luvu. “We are in a very tough pool so we have to train extremely hard.”
American Samoa has been grouped together with Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and defending champs New Zealand in Group A while Group B includes the Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Tonga.
The tournament kicks off from January 8-19 with the winner representing Oceania at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 from June 18-July 10. According to an OFC media release on Nov. 5, this tournament will set a record for number of participants “for an Oceania age-group qualifier.”
Of course New Zealand is by far the favorites and American Samoa the underdog.
“The high expectations we have for our young men is that they will perform their best against top teams in our region,” Luvu said. “It will be an eye-opener for them in terms of how fast the game’s tempo will be compared to our local competition and also the technical skills of their upcoming opponents.”
The team is training weekly at the Kananafou Theological Center under Luvu and helpers Terrence ‘Pati’ Sinapati and Talalelei Fa’alavaau.
The team of all high school students departs Jan. 5 and is expected to return Jan. 17, 2011.
The players are Abel Fata, Conrado Siligi, Eleama Fa’atonu, Faiai Kerisiano, Franky Luvu, Kaleopa Siligi, Keniseli Tupuola, Kid Bartley, Mark Ieremia, Miachel Taumua, Palauni Tapusoa, Panweichi Kaleopa, Paulo Paulo, Ruben Luvu Jr., Ryan Paaga, Ryan Petaia, Sam Kome, Shalom Luani, Taufaiula Mavaega and Tia Sione.

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