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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Football equipment continues to pour into American Samoa

by Brian Vitolio

Football equipment for local high schools continues to pour into the territory through the association of Alema Te'o and Samoa Bowl committee members Melila and Moana Purcell and Peter Gurr.

"During the opening week of football (Aug. 30) 33 helmets arrived from Alema and we distributed to the schools with five per-school," Melila Purcell explained. "We also received shoes that he received from Nike, including 15 size-9 pairs that we gave to the (American Samoa) Baseball Association."

Purcell went on to say that the shoes and helmets were shipped down courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines.

"It's been very fortunate for us that Hawaiian Airlines has been able to support us on our last two shipments," he added. "Alema also has more football equipment on him right now - shoulder pads, knee pads, hip and thigh pads - and we are looking for someone to take care of shipping for us at the moment."

Te'o has been networking with several colleges and they are sending him surplus stuff that they have committed too and he is sending those to the territory.

This summer he also ran his All-Poly Camp at Veterans Memorial Stadium with several college coaches from off island, with most of them of Samoan descent, and according to Purcell a lot of other coaches are interested in coming down when next the group travels to the territory.

"He hasn't said anything yet about when the next one is down here but he did say that a lot more coaches are wanting to jump on the bandwagon," Purcell explained. "It will be the same time frame if it does happen again."

Purcell added that he wanted to extend their personal thanks to the Ta'ita'itama program for their aid in helping out local players come up with part of the fee to participate in the local All-Poly camp.

"We're very thankful to the Ta'ita'itama program for being able to support us with a mini-grant so that kids unable to provide the fee for the camp could do so," he said.

The Purcells are parents to the Cleveland Browns' Mel Purcell, a graduate of Leone High School.

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