Netball Samoa's youth team keeps eyes on the prize
Netball Samoa has already started preparation for the 2020 Oceania World Youth Cup Qualifiers, to be held in Papua New Guinea.
The qualifying competition is a chance for Samoa to secure a spot for the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup, to be hosted by Fiji.
The Under 21 Netball trials, held on the 27th and 28th of September, attracted Samoan netballers from local clubs as well as those from New Zealand and Australia.
Out of the 37 players attending those trials, 20 were selected in the U-21 Netball Samoa training squad to prepare for the big upcoming qualifiers.
Samoa’s Head Coach, Ruta Tonumaivao Schwalger, said they were pleased with the showing at trials, and credited the role of local clubs in the development of local talent.
"Thank you to our local clubs who have played a major role in progressing skill game development and ensuring that their players have enjoyed learning through the process,” she said.
"We will definitely be seeing more local representation in our national teams if this progress continues.
"Player development has been boosted with the inclusion of age group divisions in the National Netball League competition.”
But she acknowledged the overseas pool of players also showed promising efforts during trials.
Head Coach Schwalger said she and assistant coach Pelesa Semu look forward to working with the selected squad members and watching their progress as they work towards the final selection.
Only six local players make up the 20 selected training squad.
Asked if there are challenges Netball Samoa faces in nurturing local talent, she said that forms part of the ongoing efforts by the Association, by ensuring coach development also takes place alongside player development to ensure that netball grows to the level needed for national teams.
Schwalger is assured that Netball Samoa has the ability to nurture and develop local talents for the international stage.
"Yes, Netball Samoa does have the capacity to build our local players to an international level,” she said.
“With the support of schools, clubs, family and commitment from the players themselves there is always opportunity to develop [our] skill set to the level required for international level."
U21 Wider Training Squad:
Larafina Tanielu Stowers Samoa
Kayla Fatima Schwalger Samoa
Geraldine Taefu Samoa
Rosabel Tuatagaloa Samoa
Mesepa Parker Samoa
Uriana Tipama’a Samoa
Bryanna Tamilo New Zealand
Taumuasila Matautia New Zealand
Eternal Stewart New Zealand
Alyssa Niko-Tuifao New Zealand
Meletia Tatupu New Zealand
Rialani Tuilaepa New Zealand
Malia Seumanutafa-Gale Australia
Tamara Anderson Australia
Grace Valele Australia
Sariah Silao Australia
Silalomalava Palamo Australia
Salani Aigamua Australia
Tilomai Caitlin Lee Australia
Ariana Luamanu Australia