HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Fagaitua high school football team has a lot to sing about. This is the first time the school from American Samoa has taken a team trip to Hawaii. "Just that exposure of our student-athletes for recruiting-wise, of getting their name out there with the level of competition," said head coach Suaese "Pooch" Taase.
But this isn't a vacation, the Vikings are here to learn on their month long tour lining up scrimmages against some of the state's best including Mililani, Campbell and St. Louis all in an effort to raise their level of play. "Coming here is going to prepare us for our season so it's like a pre-season game for us," said junior defensive tackle Blessman Ta'ala. Assistant coach James Grey added, "It's really nice to come over here to experience different formations and how they practice and the coaching ethics and the playing ethics that they go through."
The trip to Hawaii did not come at a cheap price. Fagaitua High School raised over $125,000 to come here, but they said it's been worth every penny. "Our bond has become stronger ever since we come to Hawaii, now that we are living together, we're helping each other," said Senior Defensive End Leon Jesse Te'o.
Former University of Hawaii running back Joey Iosefa is one alum who donated. As a role model for the program, coaches are hoping current players follow in Iosefa's footsteps by attending college. "We tell our player if you make it great, but the education is the most important thing because that will take you further than anything else," said Taase.