[Congressional Record Volume 156, Number 7 (Thursday, January 21, 2010)]
[House]
[Pages H314-H315]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




 COMMENDING CBS 60 MINUTES SPECIAL FEATURE, ``AMERICAN SAMOA--FOOTBALL 
                                ISLAND''

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from American Samoa (Mr. Faleomavaega) is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  (Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
his remarks.)
  Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share with you and our 
colleagues and to commend the CBS ``60 Minutes'' program that was aired 
last week on Sunday, January 17 of this year.
  As it was narrated by CBS reporter Scott Pelley, the television 
program was called, ``American Samoa--Football Island.'' It highlighted 
the fact

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that from an island of less than 70,000 people, there are more than 30 
players of Samoan ancestry currently playing professional football in 
the National Football League and estimated more than 200 playing 
currently in Division I college football.
  Indeed, it is estimated that a boy born to Samoan parents is 56 times 
more likely to get into the NFL than any other kid in the United 
States, period. This is an exceptional bit of information considering 
that the six little high schools that we have there in the program do 
not have locker rooms, no weight rooms for training, no proper 
equipment or other needed facilities and resources. This is also 
considering that most of these athletes do not start playing organized 
football until they're in high school.
  For the first time this year, we have organized a Pop Warner football 
program. What is interesting about this, Mr. Speaker, is that a good 
number of these young Pop Warner players would be disqualified if they 
were playing in the U.S. for the simple reason that they were too big. 
I know this is true in the State of Hawaii where, in the Pop Warner 
program, many of these young Samoan football players had to organize 
their own ``Big Boys'' football program because they would be 
disqualified to play Pop Warner. I know this is true in the little town 
of Hauula in Laie in the State of Hawaii.
  Now, I don't want to give the impression to my colleagues that 
Samoans are a lot of muscle and brawn but no brains; no, this is not 
true. I know from my own given experience when I played high school 
football in my alma mater, Kahuku High School in Hawaii, it was like a 
tradition that all Samoans would play the line, the quarterback would 
be the Japanese, the Filipinos would be the halfbacks, but the fullback 
would be a Samoan. Now all that has changed, we also play quarterback 
these days.
  In American Samoa, there were no youth or development programs until 
this year when they started the American Youth Football Samoa program, 
but still coaches and recruiters crowd our little territory for raw 
talent. Mr. Speaker, it was important for the whole world to see some 
of the challenges that the kids of American Samoa have to go through to 
make it to the collegiate level so that they can afford an education 
and for most to play in the highest level of professional football.
  The fact that a Samoan boy is 56 times more likely to get into the 
NFL is most interesting and can be attributed not only to the size of 
the people but to the values of the Samoan culture. From respect to 
discipline and making sure that there is respect in the process, one 
can appreciate that the young men and women of Samoan descent hold true 
these values of humility. I know that these athletes with these values 
would be welcomed by any coach in any sport.
  I want to take this opportunity to recognize the Polynesian players 
who were fortunate enough to make it into this year's NFL Conference 
Championships and will be playing in New Orleans this weekend. They are 
Aaron Francisco of the Indianapolis Colts; Fili Moala, the Indianapolis 
Colts; Ropati Pitoitua, the New York Jets; Sione Pouha of the New York 
Jets; Naufahu Tahi of the Minnesota Vikings. I want to personally 
congratulate them and their families for their success.
  Also, I want to offer special recognition for our first Samoan 
Polynesian of Tongan ancestry, Mr. Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore 
Ravens, who is not only headed to his first Pro Bowl in Florida after 
the Super Bowl, but today is also his 26th birthday. Haloti Ngata is in 
his fourth year in the NFL, was drafted by the Ravens in the first 
round of the 2006 NFL draft, and is a graduate of the University of 
Oregon. At 6 feet, 5 inches and almost 350 pounds, Haloti finished the 
year with more than 30 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.
  The success of this new generation of football players, Mr. Speaker, 
is a result of the pathway paved by pioneers like Samoan football 
player Al Lolotai, who played for the Washington Redskins in 1945, 
Charlie Ane of the Detroit Lions, Jack ``The Throwin' Samoan'' 
Thompson, Manu and his son Marques Tuiasosopo, Dan Saleaumua, Wilson 
Faumuina, Frank and his son Brandon Manumaleuna, Jesse Sapolu, Junior 
Seau, Troy Polamalu, Lofa Tatupu, Domata Peko, Rey Maualuga, Jonathan 
Fanene, Joe Salave`a, Pita Elisara, Esera Tuaolo, Falaniko and his 
brother Al Noga, Junior Ah You, and many others.
  I am often asked why Samoan men have so much success on the football 
field. Well, there are many factors. I am reminded of the late Coach 
Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers when he said that ``Football is 
like life. It requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, 
dedication, and respect for authority.'' This is very much part of the 
heart and soul of the Samoan culture which centers on the importance of 
families sharing each other's needs and respect for others.

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