Face-to-face refereeing activity has made a return in American Samoa after the country was in a nationwide lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Referees Instructors Course in February was the last event held at the Football Federation American Samoa (FFAS).

They then participated in sessions online until May where FFAS held their first referees training in person at the FFAS headquarters and continue to meet on Wednesday nights.

FFAS Referees Development Officer Sione Mau said while lockdown was an opportunity to rest, it’s great to come together again and prepare for future football tournaments.

“It was difficult for everyone to stay motivated during lockdown to do physical activity, but we did our best to remain active by logging our daily workouts,” Mau said.

“This held the referees accountable and ultimately stay healthy in hopes of preventing COVID-19.

“Thank you to OFC’s Kevin Stoltenkamp and Neil Poloso for their support during our virtual sessions.

“Looking ahead theory and fitness will be the two main focuses as we want our referees to perform at the highest level possible.”

Experienced FFAS referee Lemusa Alatase started his journey in 2006 and physically trained six days a week during lockdown.

“Sione (Mau) helped me a lot by teaching me how to use a laptop to log my trainings and reports,” Alatase said.

“The Wednesday night sessions have been very useful and I hope to learn more each week.”

Kashi Pandeya from Royal Puma began officiating high school matches in 2020 and is aiming to referee at premier club level.

“Technology definitely helped me during lockdown to keep on top of trainings,” Pandeya said.

“It feels great to be back on the field in person with my refereeing family.”

Referees stretching during session. Photo Credit: FFAS Media.