Welcome to a new feature on goalWA.net called “Social Buzz” where we will highlight soccer topics that are trending in social media in the state of Washington!Larry Mana’o is a local soccer coach who is making a splash around the world in the documentary film “Next Goal Wins,” the story of putting together a national team for American Samoa. Mana’o is one of the rare names in Washington soccer that appears not only on usual sites such as LinkedIn, but also on the movie mega-site IMDB.com. He’s coached in the Seattle area in the past with the Crossfire Selects. He’s a graduate of The University of Puget Sound (Tacoma).
Larry’s story and the local connections came to the attention of goalWA.net in this forum thread posted on WPS-Soccer.com.
BUZZ: One forum poster says: “Larry is a fantastic coach and a great mentor for his players. He has stepped in and taken over boys and girls teams in need a of a HC coach or when I have needed coverage for one of my teams when his plate was already to full. I had the pleasure of watching him take a group of American Samoa men’s National team candidates, many of whom who had never played together before, and make them a band of brothers all in one week! He is truly gifted.”
Next Goal Wins is a must-see for sports fans and also a critical hit on IMDB.com.
In the documentary Larry is an assistant to head coach Thomas Rongen. Now in 2015 Mana’o is the head coach of the American Samoa National Team, and they are underway in Oceania play.
From the article: The national team arrived in American Samoa on Aug. 21 from Seattle, Washington where they had been training since late July. They started camping together in mid-August.
A good number of the players are based in the U.S. and locally based players had been training at the FFAS field since March. In July, five of the eight local players flew out to Seattle, WA to start training with the rest of the squad.
Taumua and Mana’o helped coordinate the training in Seattle.
“It was very tough because of the distances we had to travel and having to train on different fields all the time,” Taumua said. “But it was a great learning experience for all.”
“May the best team win and we ask American Samoa for their support of our team and our efforts,” Faiivae said. “I will be in Tonga to help cheer them on and if anyone happens to be there at the same time, come out to the Loto-Tonga Soka Center and watch and cheer by my side.”
Follow-up: On September 3 American Samoa beat Tonga, 2-1. It’s just the latest in a great story that weaves it’s way through Seattle, and film festivals around the globe. American Samoa even played local youth clubs (such as Eastside FC) while they trained in Seattle. The future: World Cup 2018?