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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tatupu helps establish football in American Samoa

SEATTLE - USA Football, the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels, announced today that Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu has donated $10,000 to the independent non-profit to assist in its work of establishing American Samoa’s first youth football program. With USA Football’s financial assistance, bolstered by Tatupu’s gift, youth football is being played by youngsters aged 11-14 on the island territory for the first time.

Tatupu is the son of Mosi Tatupu, the first native-born American Samoan selected to an NFL Pro Bowl (1986) as a fullback for the New England Patriots. The younger Tatupu’s pride in his American Samoan ancestry and respect for the island’s people and their affinity toward football compels him to further strengthen the sport there.

Since 2008, USA Football has worked with American Samoa football leaders to establish organized youth football on the island, providing the latest equipment and USA Football’s coaching education resources to serve the new league’s volunteer coaches. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, the NFLPA, and the league’s 32 teams.

Tatupu’s gift will be presented by his father, Mosi, to USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck prior to kickoff of this Saturday’s USA Football “Team USA vs. The World” game, presented by Riddell, in Ft. Lauderdale. The 12 p.m. ET game, aired live by NFL Network, features 90 of the world’s best high school-aged football players spanning four continents. Mosi Tatupu is an honorary captain for the World team which has three American Samoa natives on its roster.

Comprised of 77 square miles with 65,000 citizens, there are more than 30 players of Samoan descent in the NFL and more than 200 playing Division I college football. In the past five years alone, the island's six high schools have produced 10 NFL linemen and it is estimated that a boy born to Samoan parents is 56 times more likely to play in the NFL than one born in the United States.

“This is an island and a culture centered around family,” said Lofa Tatupu. “There is a strong sense of togetherness, respect for others, sacrificing for the good of the family, and teamwork woven into American Samoan life – these are the very same values found in successful people and winning football programs.

“These kids deserve a shot, an opportunity. I thank USA Football and everyone who has had a hand in helping American Samoa’s kids enjoy this sport in an exciting way that they’ve not experienced before this year.”

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