Through the American Samoa Department of Education (ASDOE) Athletic Division’s Junior Development Programme close to 100 young athletes participated in the open try-outs at Pago Park Soccer Stadium on 26 October.
Head of the American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) Athletic Division Tumua Matu’u says the Junior Development Programme is aimed at 7th and 8th graders who want to continue participating in sports activities throughout high school.
“The goal of the programme 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,” Matu’u says.
Football was selected as the first sport to kick-off the programme which will run on Saturdays from 26 October to 7 December at the FFAS 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,” says FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua.
“The DOE discontinued its sports activities for elementary schools in 2008 and we understood and sympathised with their reasons. 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 Development Programme is also known as the Feeder Programme, emphasising the role of elementary schools that feed directly into the four main public high schools in American Samoa – Faga’itua, Leone, Samoana and Tafuna.
Each of these has been tagged as a zone with its own elementary feeder schools – seven for Faga’itua, four for Leone, five for Samoana and three for Tafuna.
Training and friendly matches will be played at Pago Park Soccer Stadium each Saturday with technical assistance coming from FFAS. On 23 and 30 November the four zones will compete in a league competition with finals and awards held on 7 December.
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