New grassroots initiative promoting soccer's future
The manager of a new Football Federation Samoa (F.F.S.) programme targeting grassroots development is uncovering young players' enthusiasm for the sport and its promising future in Samoa.
Leti Tamasese is in charge of the "Fun Football" programme for the east side of Upolu which covers Vaivase Primary School, Vailele Primary School, Letogo Primary School, and Lauli'i Primary School.
"Watching the fun games today, I have seen how much their skills and how they play have improved," she said.
"When we first visited these schools no one knew anything about soccer, but if you look at them now you can see that they can play."
Ms. Tamasese says the F.F.S. continued to work with the schools despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
"Some schools have dropped out, but these are the only schools that stayed with us. Our program that was for these schools is called Fun Football, and fun football is basically about the promoting of soccer at the grassroots level," she said.
The programe held an activity this week to further develop player engagement.
"To us, we are trying to develop soccer in Samoa, and we trying to maintain these kids in soccer and to bring in new students and promote soccer in Samoa," she said.
Ms. Tamasese began as a volunteer for the programmes, before she moved onto coaching, and now she is working with the F.F.S. as a manager of the Fun Football program.
She says that she is grateful to be a part of the programme she had always helped out with.
"As a new person on board, there is a big development in terms of their skills. In the previous years, there was no programme like this," she said.
"A child can only come here and play when he [or] she is in a club, and that is around the ages of 16, 17, and 18. Now, we are targeting the grassroots level, and looking at it right now, I can see the difference.
"We will continue to develop these kids, we are trying to win these kids because as we all know rugby is the biggest and well-known sport here. I know we can't beat that but there are ways we can do to maintain these kids and promote the sport a bit more.
"They have a lot of potential and that's for sure."