9 January, 2018. Samoa – Samoa’s reigning men’s soccer champions Lupe O le Soaga – will meet Cook Islands in the kick-off match of the three-day Oceania Championship League – Jan. 20 at the Pago Park Soccer Stadium in American Samoa.
“The boys are all looking forward to the challenge in Pago Pago in less than two weeks’ time,” Lupe O le Soaga Head Coach Paul Ualesi told Samoa Planet. “We will continue to work hard and focus on areas that need improvement right up to the start of the tournament.”
When Magiagi was confirmed as the 2017 winners, and this year’s representative in the O-League, they continued with training, Ualesi explained. In order to take Samoa’s best to the international competition, Lupe O le Soaga has taken on some players from other local soccer clubs who performed well in the national league.
“It has always been our target to win the National League and represent Samoa once again in the O-League,” said Ualesi.
Over the past five years, Lupe O le Soaga teams have consistently been among the top performing squads in the Premier League, First Division and Women’s League.
They’ve won National Champions three out of the past four years, regularly hold the Shield, have represented Samoa in the O-League 3 times and attract players from neighboring villages as a result of their success and approach to addressing violence, said the Head Coach.
In 2017, the men of Lupe O le Soaga claimed the national league title and the 2017 Champ of Champs.
“This year we are already building on that success with both our men’s teams, winning their respective leagues and having our Premier League Men’s team bestowed the honour of representing Samoa in the O-League,” Ualesi said.
Lupe O le Soaga Soccer Club was founded in 1998 to provide an alternative for village youth who were not built for rugby and other physically demanding sports. It is comprised of more than 85 male and female soccer players, ranging in age from eight to 40. They field a Men’s Premier League, Men’s First Division, Ladies’ Premier League and Boys’ & Girls’ Youth Teams.
It has a fully accountable committee made up of four officers: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
“The formation of the soccer club was a collective idea to persuade our youth into putting their energy into activities that would promote healthy living and to foster their God-given talents,” said Ualesi who has coached the Men’s Premier Team for five years. He began playing with Lupe O le Soaga as a boy, 15 years ago and oversees all Lupe O le Soaga teams.
“Football (soccer) encourages teamwork, unity and discipline amongst players so the creation of the Club also gave the players and members an opportunity of creating and maintaining a strong relationship amongst, and with one another. This bond makes for an effective soccer club as they contribute as a team to the development of the community as a whole.”
The Lupe O le Soaga mission is to provide high-quality professional soccer while supporting its community and the nation by providing a positive impact on the nation’s economy through football.
The first stage of the O-League will see the top clubs from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga. The winner and runner up of this qualifying stage tournament will advance to the second stage to face the best of the Pacific such as New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti and Papua New Guinea.
Samoa meets Cook Islands 12 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20; they play again on Tuesday, Jan. 23 and on Friday, Jan. 26.
Lupe O le Soaga leaves for Pago on Jan. 19 and returns Jan. 27.
Here is your team to the O-League Championships at Pago Park Soccer Stadium:
- MATAGI, Faalavelave
- FAALOGO, Vaalili
- KELI, Spencer
- LALOATA, Vito
- TANOAI, Tauati
- FIFII, Michael
- LETUTUSA, Lawrie
- TALILAI, Darren Alatina
- MALO, Samuel
- TONI, Lapalapa
- ATAGA, Suivai
- SOAFA, Kareti
- TAUALAI, Vaa
- ATAGA, Faafua
- SETEFANO, Andrew
- KEWERI, Ken
- VAGAIA, Bird
- ERBILL, Cihan
- GOSCHE, Luki
- AH KUOI, Kevin
- FATU, Pele
- TEO, John
- AIMAASU, Fiti (Technical Advisor)
- TAUTIAGA, La’I (Manager)
- UALESI, Paul (Head Coach)
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