Pago Youth has repeated as National League men’s champions for the second time in its young history under the umbrella of Football Federation American Samoa.
From 2010-2012, Pago Youth won three National League titles in a row, and now are holders of the 2017 title to go along with the 2016 crown. Pago Youth is also the men’s FFAS National Cup holder, taking it away from Utulei Youth during the opening weekend of the 2017 league, and successfully retaining it 10 times.
Pago Youth completed the season with a league-best 10-1-0 record for 31 points, five clear of No. 2 Lion Heart (8-2-1; 26 points). Royal Puma (8-1-2; 25 points) is third in the standings, followed by Vaiala Tongan A (6-2-3; 20 points); No. 5 Green Bay (6-2-3; 20 points); No. 6 Black Roses (5-1-5; 16 points); No. 7 PanSa (4-2-5; 14 points); No. 8 Utulei Youth (3-1-7; 10 points); No. 8 Taputimu Youth (3-0-8; 9 points) and No. 10 Vaiala Tongan B (1-0-9; 3 points). Two other teams, Ilaoa & To’omata and Tafuna Jets, were disqualified from the league after forfeiting twice during the competition.
On the final day of the league (Nov. 11), Pago Youth retained the cup in a 5-1 win over PanSa, while in other games it was Vaiala Tongan A 2, Green Bay 1; Black Roses 2, Taputimu Youth 1; Lion Heart 3, Vaiala Tongan B 1 and Royal Puma 3, Ilaoa & To’omata 0 in a forfeited game. Ilaoa & To’omata was unable to field the required number (9) of players to start the game, and it was also their second forfeited match, earning them a disqualification from the competition.
The toughest game of the weekend was the battle for fourth place, and that went to Vaiala Tongan A after a 2-1 win over Green Bay. Both teams are tied with similar records and points, but Vaiala Tongan A gets the nod over Green Bay because of a higher differential in goals tiebreaker (25-20).
Pago Youth’s closest game was a 2-2 draw against Green Bay on September 2, followed closely by a 2-1 win over Lion Heart On Oct. 7, 2017.
Pago Youth will represent American Samoa in the 2018 OFC Champions League Preliminary tournament that FFAS is hosting from Jan. 20-26, 2018. Other participants will include the National League champions from the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga, with the top two finishers advancing to stage two.
This is the second time FFAS will host the Champions League preliminary, the last in 2013 with Pago Youth as the American Samoa representative.
FFAS will hold a top four and middle four tournament for the men’s competition based on the recent National League standings, with Pago Youth, Lion Heart, Royal Puma and Vaiala Tongan A playing in the higher tier contest.
Competing in the middle four set are Green Bay, Black Roses, PanSa and Utulei Youth. Both contests are separate from one another and are separate tournaments from the now completed National League.