FFAS > News > OFC U-20 Championship New Zealand 2011 > U-20 team departs for New Zealand

U-20 team departs for New Zealand

The team of 21 players and four team officials (led by manager and FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua, coach Ruben Luvu, assistant coach Uinifareti Aliva and physio Travis ‘Pita’ Sinapati) left for Samoa on two separate flights with Taumua and Aliva departing first with 12 players and the rest following later.
The team arrived safely and was met at the airport by Football Federation Samoa representatives and taken to the Toleafoa J.S. Blatter to rest.
Samoa has prepared an U-20 squad of theirs for a friendly later today with American Samoa as their way of keeping the bond between the two Samoas well and alive as well as helping their brothers from across the waters prepare for the upcoming competition. Samoa is not entered into the contest.
“We are extremely grateful for this show of brotherly love towards us as they have also promised to accommodate and feed us at no cost to FFAS while we wait out the hours until we leave in the early Saturday morning for New Zealand,” pointed out Taumua. “This goes without saying that we would and will do the same thing for them sometime in the future.”
The team will be housed at Kings College in Otahuhu, Auckland and contact numbers to reach the team were given out to parents during a meet and greet session on Wednesday, April 13.
The parents left that meeting, chaired by Iuli, heaping thanks upon thanks on the association after being stunned by what FFAS had provided in terms of uniforms and other materials for the players. Also present was executive committee member Saili Ott.
Taumua showed the parents the team uniforms (4) to be used, their sports bags, track suits and FFAS polo shirts as well as new soccer boots.
Taumua also pointed out that the association will give, in New Zealand, each player an allowance of US $200.
Three parents spoke on behalf of all with one common message — a great big heartfelt thank you!
“I wish I was young and fit because I want to wear all those uniforms I’m seeing,” exclaimed retired educator and former ASDOE deputy director Dr. Fa’auma Seui, father of player Chris Seui. “After seeing all this good stuff provided by the association, I leave today as an extremely happy father.”
“You guys are very lucky because you are getting all this great equipment just by being selected to represent American Samoa,” pointed out Sefulutasi Kuresa, father of player Casper Kuresa. “And all this money being spent sending you to the competition with the association providing all of the finances for it while requiring none from yourselves and us your parents — so make use of this good fortune you are receiving.
“Remember (Rev. Evagelia’s) sermon this past Sunday,” he added. “You may never get another chance to represent American Samoa on this magnitude but if you do take full advantage of it.”
Faleupolu Mariota, mother to Matthew Mariota, spoke on behalf of all mothers and challenged them to do their best.
“If you do not win, do not be so down on yourselves,” she said, “but if you score a goal, we will cherish that score. We will be happy enough if you score.”
The team may play another friendly on April 19 (April 18, local time) with an as yet unknown opponent in New Zealand.
The tournament kicks off from April 21-27 with American Samoa playing three games.
Schedule of their games is listed below with local time in parenthesis while the home team is listed first.
THURSDAY, APRIL 21 (April 20, 11:30 a.m.)

SATURDAY, APRIL 23 (April 21, 2:00 p.m.)

MONDAY, APRIL 25 (April 24, 2:00 p.m.)