Sunday, September 19, 2010

Islanders Big Factor For Team

The islanders on Sartoris Field after the Lancers defeated Glendale Community College on Sept. 4. Though they come from Utah, Hawaii and the Samoan Islands, the Islanders on the PCC football team consider each other family.
PCC football is once again playing another season of football with the help and addition of the Islanders.

This is what the Polynesian players on the team call themselves.

The Islanders come from areas of Hawaii, the American Samoa Islands and even Utah.

The group already has about 15 returning Islander sophomores and about 20 new freshman Islanders that have joined the team.

Sophomore Penieli Faasao from Pago Pago, American Samoa is one of the returning Islanders already on the squad this football season with the new freshmen Islanders who have joined him.

"As soon as they graduated high school, they started arriving the first four weeks of summer," said Faasao.

"What we can bring to the team is family and heart," said Faasao.

"We are going to try to make the team as one, and not separate."

Most of the Islanders start playing rugby by the time they are in kindergarten, but are not introduced to football until they enter high school.

"Some of us are first timers playing football," said Faasao.

Lack of opportunity on the Islands is one reason they decided to come to PCC.

"Some of us come for a better education and to pursue dreams and more goals, but it's also all about talent," said Faasao.

Freshman Keali Latseli from Oahu Hawaii was one of the first Islanders to start training with the team when he arrived earlier in the summer after staying with his brother in Utah.

"We push each other and make sure that nobody quits so we finish what we started," said Latseli.

Manako Tuifua is another sophomore who trained for the upcoming PCC football season.

"I'm always ready," said Tuifua. "I was born ready."

Tuifua also played rugby before giving football a chance. He was even on the Kailua, Hawaii state rugby team before coming to play football at PCC.

The Islanders will try to help PCC get a championship, something some of their Islander friends know first hand while playing football for PCC's rival school, Mt. SAC.

Mt. SAC will start the season as the defending state champions.

"[The Islanders] just want everyone to have an experience of winning a championship," said Faasao.

It's one thing Tuifua knows first hand. He was a state champion for judo at Kailua High School.

Tuifua was on the wrestling team and has hopes of making it to a Division 1 school to play football.

If that doesn't work out, Tuifua is also thinking about going to a Division 3 school to play rugby.

He may even join a rugby league in Riverside.

But Tuifua said his first priority is playing his sophomore season at PCC with his Islander friends and family.

"Every Polynesian considers each other family," said Faasao. " If you are Polynesian, you are family."

Of course there is one thing the Islanders miss from back home.

"We just need a nice clean beach to go to," said Faasao.

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