Friday, January 22, 2010

Three Players From American Samoa Will Represent "The World" vs Team USA

American Samoa’s three picks to the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Team that will face Team USA in an official Pro Bowl Week event Jan. 30 are thankful for being selected and ready to represent the territory in the match that will air on the NFL Network.

Beck Coulter, 18, Aiulua Fanene, 17, and David Katina, 17, have been named to the IFAF World Team led by Head Coach Jan Jenmert, head coach of Sweden’s junior national football team.

Team USA, USA Football’s 2010 National Junior Team is headed by Chris Merritt, head coach of Miami Christopher Columbus High School.

The teams are set to play Jan. 30 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The game features USA Football’s 2010 Junior National Team and a World Select team comprised of players and coaches spanning four continents, says the IFAF. Team USA includes America’s top high school football student-athletes.

Presenting sponsor of the match is Riddell, which provides the official helmet of the NFL.

“Being part of this game is important to us,” said Riddell President Dan Arment in an IFAF media statement issued this week. ”Americans know how football brings people and communities together and the sport has done that for generations...Riddell is proud to be associated with this game and USA Football.”

He says USA Football’s ‘Team USA vs. The World’ game shows “the global passion for football’s excitement and team-first values with athletes and coaches spanning 12 nations.”

Beck Coulter
Current School/Club: Trinity (TX) Community College     
Country: American Samoa
Height: 6-2 | Weight 240 lbs.
#TBD | Position: LB

Beck Coulter, 18, son of Robert (Bob) and Tagiilima (Lima) Coulter of Leone arrived in Round Rock, Texas, yesterday (he returned to Texas Sunday), after spending the holidays on-islan. Beck, an outside linebacker for the Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) Cardinals.

“I am thankful for the opportunity...I was surprised...I’m just going to play hard to represent our country,” he told Samoa News.

The tsunami of Sept. 29, 2009 happened months ago, yet Beck, whose family lost their home, with relatives having to swim for their lives — dedicates his performance Jan. 30 “to all those who lost their loved ones in the tsunami.”

“May God be with us in that game,” he prays. Beck was in Texas when the tsunami hit. Five days after the tragedy, when the Cardinals played Navarro, his teammates, joined Beck and fellow Cardinal Isaac Puapuaga, to perform a ‘haka’ in honor of the Samoans.

Beck will leave Texas for Florida this week. Possibly three of his family members, including his mom Lima and little brother Cameron Coulter are traveling to Florida for the game.

Beck is a 2009, Leone High School graduate. TVCC, where he is a first-year student, is located in Athens in the Lone Star state. It is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Head Football Coach at TVCC is Brad Smiley, according to the school’s Web site

“We’re on a mission to do the best for our island,” said Beck.

Tavita Katina
Current School/Club: Marist High School   
Country: American Samoa
Height: 6-2 | Weight 235 lbs.
#44 | Position: LB

In an interview with Samoa News, yesterday, David Katina, the third child of Pastors David and Debbie Katina, says he was shocked and thankful.

“I was very shocked and very thankful to be selected as one of the top players in the World,” David said, “...ever since I found out about it, I pushed myself to work harder than before because this is a big opportunity for me.”

David is a senior at Kanana Fou High School but plays for Fa’asao Marist High School, led by Principal and Head Coach Victor Langkilde. He played in a number of games for the Cougars throughout the season, and was named the Defensive Player of the Week in the second week of ASHAA football.

He is a defensive end and outside linebacker for the Marist Crusaders and is known for his hard efforts on the field — sacking quarterbacks and stopping running plays behind the line of scrimmage.

“My parents are very excited about it, as well as my brother and sisters,” David said. “I already have some family flying over to Florida to watch my game, and to come see me play”.

Katina says a number of colleges are lining up for him.

He is leaning more toward the University of Hawaii, led by Head Coach Greg McMackin.

“But we had some good offers from the University of Arizona, Oregon State, the University of Oregon, and the University of Tennessee,” Katina noted.

David has been selected to play the Defensive End position, as well as Outside Linebacker for the World Team. He played on American Samoa’s International Team that routed the Australia U-19 Outback Squad 49-6, Jan. 2, 2010.

“I would first of all want to thank our Heavenly Father for his everyday blessings upon me and my family as well as my friends — a special thanks to my parents for supporting me, and for pushing me to become a better my brother and sisters for being such great supporters during my games.”

He also thanks Ben and Josh of the Langford family, and the Tuiasosopo family.

“I would also like to thank our Kanana Fou High School Principal Rev. Iasepi Ulu and the teachers and coaches for getting me through rough times to where I am now,” David said, “and for teaching me how to be prepared for the real world after I graduate.”

Aiulua Fanene
Current School/Club: Tafuna High School     
Country: American Samoa
Height: 6-5 | Weight 280 lbs.
#TBD | Position: DL

Samoa News also had the opportunity to talk to Tafuna High School’s Aiulua Fanene, senior offensive guard and defensive end for the Warriors. He said he “feels great” about being selected and calls it a “blessing.”

“I feel great, this is an opportunity that most players are looking for, and I guess it was just a blessing to be amongst the best in the World,” said Aiulua who was featured alongside his big brother Jonathan Fanene — on the CBS 60 Minutes segment “American Samoa: Football Island.”

Aiulua is the tenth child of David and Anna Fanene of Nu’uuli and Malaeimi.

He is a senior at Tafuna High School. He was a starting offensive guard for the American Samoa All Star team that beat Hawaii 23-20 in the 2010 Samoa Bowl VII, Jan. 1, 2010.

Samoa News asked Aiulua on the position that he has been selected to play for.

“They are putting me at offensive guard and defensive end,” he said. “I have worked hard ever since I knew about the selection, and I have worked myself into new and better techniques on the line.”

He thanks his parents for their efforts in pushing him to become a better person.

“I want to thank my parents for their hard efforts in pushing me to become the better person, and to teaching me how to be patient and supportive,” said Aiulua. “I also want to thank my teachers in Tafuna High School for pushing me beyond the limit of expectations, education -wise, and to my coaches for helping me work toward my goal.”

David and Aiulua depart the island Thursday for Florida.

Kick-off is set for 12 p.m. Eastern Time. The game will air after AFC and NFC All-Star practices in Lockhart Stadium and both events are free of charge. NFL Network will televise the game.

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