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A.S. vets to take on childhood friends

And for two of its players, the two most senior veterans of the squad, they will be playing against their childhood friends and cousins.
“I’ve played against some of these guys and also on the same team with them, guys like Desmond (Faaiuaso) and Mike Soafaiga Foai,” said Ramin Ott. “I know very well how they play and they also know how I play as well.”
For goalie Nicky Salapu, its a little closer to home as both Samoa players mentioned are his cousins.
“We all grew up together in Lepea, Samoa and I played on the same teams as Desmond’s older brothers,” Salapu said. “I played with Desmond on Samoa’s U-12, U-15, U-17 and U-20 teams.”
Salapu was born in American Samoa but was raised by his grandparents in Lepea, Samoa, before he ended up playing for American Samoa in the senior level.
Ott and Faaiuaso will now face off against one another as opposing captains of their respective squads. Salapu may be on the outside looking in as the second choice goalie.
Ott and Salapu played together for the first time in 2003, but did not play together on the American Samoa national squad until 2011.
“I’ve known Ramin and Nicky for quite a while now and I admire both of them as players and as leaders,” said FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua. “They are also great guys to know as individuals. If this is to be their last time as senior players for American Samoa, then I am sure they are going to make this shot of theirs count and give it 110%.”
One thing missing from their resumes, is a win against Samoa.
Both have said that they have never beaten Samoa, and they closest game was four years ago when American Samoa lost 1-0.
“I’ve never won against them and I know most of the players on their team,” Ott said.
“They have a winning record against me since I’ve been playing on the senior team,” Salapu added.
Both agree that this may be the twilight of their careers.
“I still want to play in another four years, but who knows if I’ll be able to retain a spot on the team with the many talented players coming up,” Ott pointed out. “All I can do is try.”
Salapu added the same sentiments, but realizes this could be their last attempt at a win against Samoa.
“May the best team win,” he said. “But in the end I still love those guys because of our history together and because they’re my cousins.”

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