Dream comes true for Salanoa sisters

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 12 February 2024, 5:00PM

For sisters Xevani, Xeyana and Xehlia Salanoa, it is a dream come true to represent Samoa, especially on Samoan soil. Born and raised in Oahu, Hawai’i, the Salanoa sisters have been playing football together since they were as young as four. 

They have won state championships together and have always dreamed of playing on an international stage, and they have been doing just that in the Oceania Women's Olympic Qualifiers held here in Samoa.

The eldest, Xevani thought that her last year as a senior would mean that she couldn't play with her sisters anymore, but since joining the Samoa women's football team, they have played together again. 

"Now, getting this opportunity to play with them is even more exciting," said Xevani. 

Her younger sister Xehlia added that playing for Samoa is a different ball game, especially when representing your culture.

“We’ve played together on the same team at home. To play here on our home soil in front of our family in an international setting. It’s mind-blowing because we never thought that we would make it to this stage, it feels really good," said Xehlia. 

The youngest, Xeyana echoed her sister’s sentiments.

“Being able to play together and represent our country means a lot cause I think most of my family are young and just being able to set an example for my young cousins and siblings is just really a blessing,"

“It feels incredible, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” added Xehlia. 

For the Salanoa sisters, playing alongside each other is a precious experience they will never take for granted. 

“Being with them, our time spent together is very precious and I think it’s something that I’ll never take for granted and I think that from each other we can learn things and we can teach each other things. I think it’s just like a sisterly love that we’ve always had,” said Xeyana.

The sisters are not the only siblings on the team, as there are also the Taeaoalii sisters, Sariah and Grace.

The Samoa women’s football team will take on Tonga on Tuesday and the Salanoa sisters are ready to give it their all. For them, this competition is a chance to represent their country, their family, and themselves.

“It’s important. It tells a lot about our character and our effort to put towards travelling here and being able to experience the difference of playing in Samoa rather than playing in America and alongside these other talented girls that are from around all around the country,” said Xehlia. 

While Xevani and Xehlia play upfront, Xeyana has been given the duty of being the goalkeeper.

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 12 February 2024, 5:00PM
Samoa Observer

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