(Sun, Aug 9, 2015) It’s not every day you get to play a national team. Yet, that’s just what happened Saturday morning at Preston, a friendly match-up between our Eastside FC B97 White and the American Samoa Men’s National Team. The 90 minute test was about more than the 3-2 scoreline, and more than a soccer tune-up for the two teams. All involved came away a little richer for the experience.
Of course, as a soccer tune-up, it was beneficial to both teams. Coach David Wharton of the EFC U18s told us his players are just coming back from a month-long summer break and starting to get ready for fall season. Larry Mana’o, Men’s National Team Head Coach and Technical Advisor for the Football Federation of American Samoa (FFAS), is just assembling his team in the Seattle area. Tryouts wrapped up a week ago, and he has until the end of the month to get his team into shape for World Cup Qualifiers starting in Tonga on August 30th. “At this point…our team synergy is developing quite well, and we are seeing more players becoming familiar with each other on the pitch. We need to move away from eleven players playing as individuals to playing as one team. We are getting closer with every scrimmage,” he told us.
Coach Mana’o said of Saturday’s match, “We were trying different people coming off injuries and players that haven’t played together as the focus in this game…. We have thirteen new players this year and we are trying to find the right combination of players to field as our starting eleven.”