FFAS > News > 2016 FFAS NATIONAL LEAGUE > 2016 FFAS National League kicks off

2016 FFAS National League kicks off

“It was a great first day, and we are all looking forward to a great year for our National League,” said FFAS President, Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet. “Hats off to all the participating clubs in our biggest competition of the year and good luck to all the competing teams.”
Several changes were added to this year’s National League; a single division for the men instead of two, and a 9-a-side competition for the women instead of a seven-on-seven format. Another change, and perhaps one that has greatly affected the men’s competition in terms of fitness levels, is the use of a single, playing field using FIFA international dimensions.
In years past the Pago Pago field was divided into two playing fields to accommodate more than 10 games played every Saturday during the National League.
“We made this change to enlarge the field so that we can open up the game more and have teams adapt their strategies to a full-sized field,” explained FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua. “I believe this will improve the game here in American Samoa and also have the clubs work on improving the level of fitness of their players.”
FFAS Technical Director Rupeni Luvu said that he and the technical department saw a change in the players and the way the teams played.
“With the bigger field they started to play smarter to conserver their energy, and especially worked on accurate passes,” Luvu pointed out. “It’s only the first week but I believe we will start to see better structure from the teams as the competition progresses.”
10 teams are competing in the National League with Utulei Youth coming in as the defending champions and also the weekly cup holders. Utulei has been champions of the National League going on two years in a row.
They successfully defended their Men’s National Cup in a 6-1 win over Green Bay, but not without having to worry as the first half ended in a 0-0 tie. It was not until defender Ne’emia Kaleopa went up front in the second half did Utulei Youth finally score against the challengers, and then eventually go on to win 6-1.
In other games, it was Pago Youth 8, PanSa 0; Vaiala Tongan 2, Black Roses 0; Lion Heart 1, Royal Puma 0 and Ilaoa & To’omata 2, Tafuna Jets 2.
The men’s National League will consist of two stages; a single, round-robin stage to determine the standings from one to 10. Once this has been determined at the conclusion of the round-robin, the second stage will consist of the 10 teams divided into two groups, a Top Five and Bottom Five.
These two, separate groups of five teams will compete in a single, round-robin format with the Top 5 division to determine the 2016 FFAS National League champions and subsequent positions in the standings. The Bottom 5 group will play to determine the No. 5-10 positions for the year’s final standings.
Standings are based on points with each team receiving three points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. Positions are based by points, and in case of a tie then a differential in goals, and goals scored as the final tiebreaker.
PanSa successfully defended the FFAS Women’s National Cup against Royal Puma in a hard-fought, 1-0 win.
Upuia Sao scored the lone goal late in the second half to help her team retain the challenge cup in their first defense of the year. Meanwhile, Utulei Youth, last year’s defending champions in the women’s 7-A-Side format, did not fare well on the first day as they lost by forfeit to Lion Heart. Utulei Youth was unable to field the required number of players (nine) to start the match.
In other games, it was Tafuna Jets 2, Pago Youth 0 while Green Bay was off with a bye.
The women’s competition will consist of two round-robins, and the champions will be the team with the most points at the end.
There are nine teams competing in the National League, and their competition will move to an 11-a-side for the 2017 campaign.

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