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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hundreds come out for American Samoa Football Academy

Autographs from football celebrities plus speed and quickness drills used in the NFL highlighted the day for the hundreds of high school football players who are taking part in the 2009 American Samoa Football Academy and Medical Mission, sponsored by the non-profit June Jones Foundation.

Chairman of the Foundation, Southern Methodist University Head Coach June Jones, arrived Thursday night with members of his coaching staff, University of Hawaii Head Coach Greg McMackin and other UH coaches, former NFL players and a number of foundation members to host this year’s event which proudly combines sport, education and healthcare for the territory.

“The Football Academy and Medical Mission is the first ever program that combines sport, education and healthcare for American Samoa,” said Jones in a statement. “I hold a special affection for the Polynesian culture and their values of work, faith, loyalty and family. These are the qualities that have led to the success of so many NFL players of Samoan descent.”

Students lined up following registration to get their Academy t-shirts signed by the likes of Oakland Raiders center Samson Satele and NFL great Jesse Sapolu, former San Francisco 49’ers offensive lineman and four-time Super Bowl champion.

Former defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders Ta’ase Faumui, former Denver Broncos tight end Ma’a Tanuvasa, a two-time Super Bowl Champion plus former NFL quarterback Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson are also among the football celebrities in town for the Academy.

Students were led through speed and quickness drills by visiting coaches —Jones, McMackin, as well as three other coaches from SMU and two from Hawaii.

From SMU, there is running back coach Wes Suan, secondary coach Derrick Odum and wide receivers coach Jeff Reinebold. From the Aloha State there is UH graduate assistant Craig Stutzmann and Anthony Tuioti, director of football player personnel at UH.

When Jones opened the speed and quickness camp, he told players that the one thing to any success on the field is “being able to come together as one and play as a group.”

He drew upon the success of L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson who said “it’s about each other...it’s about the journey.”

“We’re here to create, to do things together and encourage each other to be one,” noted Jones.

Continue at Samoa News

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