The Junior Division consists of boys and girls in grades 7 & 8 participating in the third division added by American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA). The other two are varsity (12th & 11th grades) and junior varsity (10 and 9th grades).
According to a release sent by head of the Athletic Division, Tumua Matu’u, the Junior Development Program is to “provide for the skill development of 7th and 8th graders with the potential to participate in Junior Varsity and/or Varsity level competition.”
They selected soccer as their first sport to kick-off the program and it will be held for seven Saturdays from October 26-December 7 at the Football Federation American Samoa’s field in Pago Pago.
“We’ve been waiting patiently for a second opportunity to partner up with the DOE’s elementary division and when this opportunity was presented to us by Tumua and her department we jumped at it,” explained FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua.
“DOE discontinued its sports activities for the elementary schools in 2008 and we understood and sympathized with their reasons,” continued Taumua. “After quite a long wait we’ve got a second window into the public high schools and are very thankful for it because it targets one of our main areas and that’s development.”
The junior program is also known as the Feeder program, meaning public elementary schools that feed directly into the four main public high schools — Faga’itua, Leone, Samoana and Tafuna. Each of these four high schools has been tagged as a zone with its own elementary feeder schools.
There are seven feeder schoools for Faga’itua (Matatula, A.P. Lutali, Olomoana (Aoa), Masefau, Alofau, Lauli’i and Aua); four for Leone (Pava’ia’i, Siliaga (Aoloau), Leone Midkiff and Alataua Lua); five for Samoana (Mauga o Alava (Vatia), Afonotele, Coleman (Pago Pago), Le’atele (Fagasa) and Matafao); and three for Tafuna (Manulele, Tafuna and Lupelele).
The program runs from 8-11 a.m. with Nov. 2, 9 & 16 set for traininig and friendly games by zone at Pago Park Soccer Stadium with technical assistance from the FFAS.
On Nov. 23 and 30 the four zones will have a league competition format with finals and awards to be held on Dec. 7.