Utulei Youth is in Tonga to represent American Samoa at the OFC Champions League qualifiers from Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2017.
The 22-man team, headed by Rev. Elder Ioane Evagelia and coach Travis ‘Pita’ Sinapati, departed American Samoa on Sunday, Jan. 22 and arrived in Tonga on Jan. 24, local time.
The competition pitches the four club champions from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga against one another with the top two qualifiers advancing to the OFC Champions League scheduled between Feb. 25-Mar. 17.
Two teams qualifying for the second stage is a new wrinkle in the preliminary tournament added by OFC, along with a total of 16 teams competing in this latter stage.
Utulei Youth is participating by way of being crowned FFAS National League champion in 2015, and they will face off against Puaikura of Cook Islands, Lupe ole Soaga from Samoa and Tonga’s Veitongo FC.
Evagelia expressed his confidence in his team before they departed and thanked his village church of Utulei, village leaders, church leaders and FFAS for their support and well wishes for the team.
“We wish them the best of luck and hope they make American Samoa, and our association proud,” said FFAS President, Senator Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet.
Below is the schedule of Utulei Youth’s games for the OFC Champions League qualifiers.
1/28/17 (1/27/17 local date)
Utulei Youth vs. Lupe ole Soaga, 12:00 PM
1/31/17 (1/30/17 local date)
Veitongo FC vs. Utulei Youth, 3:00 PM
2/3/17 (2/2/17 local date)
Puaikura FC vs. Utulei Youth, 12:00 PM
UTULEI YOUTH TEAM
Rev. Elder Ioane Evagelia (Manager)
Travis ‘Pita’ Sinapati (Coach)
Malu Fa’avae (Trainer)