Oceania Football Confederation > News > American Samoa > National League kicks off in American Samoa

National League kicks off in American Samoa

FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua said the changes to the men’s league will have a large influence on the future of football in American Samoa.
“Playing all matches on a pitch sized to FIFA international dimensions will make matches more professional and will better prepare players for international competitions,” Taumua said.
“We made this change to enlarge the field so that we can open up the game more and have teams adapt their strategies to a full-sized field.
“I believe this will improve the game here in American Samoa and also have the clubs work on improving the level of fitness of their players,” he added.
FFAS Technical Director Rupeni Luvu immediately noticed a change in the players and the way the teams played on the larger pitches.
“With the bigger field they started to play smarter to conserve their energy, and worked on accurate passes,” Luvu said.
“It’s only the first week but I believe we will start to see better structure from the teams as the competition progresses.”
Other changes to the men’s league structure include reducing the number of divisions from two to one, then splitting the league in half after the first round of play. The top five teams will compete for the 2016 National League Championship, and the bottom five teams will compete for 5th-10th place rankings. The rankings of the teams will be determined using a points system.
Significant changes to the women’s 7-a-side league led to a rocky start for last year’s defending champions Utulei Youth, who were unable to field the required nine players for the new 9-a-side format and had to forfeit their first game.
The increase in team size will help the women’s league develop into a more professional competition, however, and with a significant size competition of nine teams, FFAS is confident the women’s league will have the capacity to expand into 11-a-side in 2017.
Despite the small hiccups inevitable in any large structural change, FFAS President Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet was satisfied with the quality of football played during the day and proud of the efforts made by participating teams.
“It was a great first day, and we are all looking forward to a great year for our National League,” he said.
“Hats off to all the participating clubs in our biggest competition of the year and good luck to all the competing teams.”
For more on American Samoa football visit www.ffas.as

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