“This was a very important week for us because it was one with a new generation of coaches,” said FIFA Instructor Paul Toohey. “Having the festival here at this school, St. Theresa, turned out to be a great event for the coaches and especially the students, so thank you very much for that.
“Now the challenge is to this new crop of coaches and what they will do with what they’ve learned after this week,” Toohey added. “Just remember I’m here to support you all.”
The 17 participants of the course helped coordinate and run the festival, using the schools’ field and the students for the activities.
According to the FIFA Grassroots text book that each of the participants was given a copy of, the “grassroots festival is a one-day event designed to introduce as many boys and girls as possible to football through different activities. The children will practice exercises and basic skills, and the matches will be small-sided games so that all the participants have the opportunity to get involved in playing football. The festival focuses on girls and boys between the ages of 6 and 12, and involves as many children as possible without distinction of ethnic origin, religion, social background or football skills.”
FFAS President Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet was on hand to officially close the course but not before handing out 17 certificates to the participants. Godinet had opened the course on Monday, Nov. 30 at the association’s headquarters in Pago Pago.
All practical and theoretical sessions were held in Pago Pago with the festival being held at St. Theresa’s school.
“I want to thank the principal, Makerita Lelevaga, faculty and staff for allowing us to complete our course here at your school,” Faiivae pointed out. “I’m sure after what you’ve been introduced to today St. Theresa will come to love our sport of soccer.
Katherine Taleni, a teacher at St. Theresa, was also a participant of the course and spoke on behalf of the class in thanking Toohey, FIFA and FFAS.
“It was a lot to learn and we’ve all learned a lot, especially for those of us who are nonsoccer players growing up,” Taleni explained. “It’s been a great journey for us and all this knowledge we’ve gained, it is now up to us to use it and give back to our kids.”
“This course we’ve been blessed by the participation of D.O.E teachers, from the high school and elementary levels,” said FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua. “I believe with their new found knowledge the grassroots level of our game will be introduced to many schools and will help our game develop more in American Samoa.”