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American Samoa Unified Special Olympics Soccer team ready to compete

“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you very much for being great hosts and for the many fun activities you provided for us,” said Tafaimamao Tua-Tupuola, chairperson of SOAS during an emotional farewell breakfast with Oxnard city officials on Friday, July 24, 2015.
American Samoa’s unified team for soccer kicks off with its competition on July 25 in the morning with the opening ceremony to be held later in the evening.
Unified soccer combines players with and without intellectual abilities on the same team.
“We had an exhibition game with Samoa for the Oxnard people as well as the Samoan community there and I believe we are ready to play,” said Silasila Samuelu, coach of the SOAS Unified soccer team. “Our players are looking forward to playing.”
Divisioning will be held on the first two days to determine where each team is to be placed based on their strengths and weaknesses.
In 2013 SOAS sent a 5-a-side team to Australia for the regional games where the American Samoan squad finished with a silver medal in the second of three divisions.
Coming back from that team are Saito Mauga, Samoa Togo and Tovale with newcomer Laveaina Pu’a being the new adiidion. The unified partners are Ryan Samuelu, Tevita Taliaoli and Willie Malele.
Oxnard city hosted American Samoa, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Kosovo and Afghanistan for three days in a program aimed at helping all countries acclimate to the weather and most importantly, share their cultures with the more than 100 cities in Southern California.
“It was great fun and I love Oxnard!,” exclaimed Hanipale Tovale, a member of the 5-a-side, Unified soccer team. “I want to go back again!”
Tovale was a favorite for many of the Oxnard residents and he returned their love with hugs, high fives and many a picture.
The other half of the contingent consists of the track and field team and

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