(MESA, Ariz.) — Standout football players of Pacific heritage from across the U.S. will meet January 2019 at the Aloha Stadium in Hawai'i for the Polynesian Bowl.
Among the All Star list is Leone High School Lions safety Edmund Anthony Siaumau, the only athlete from the famed "football islands" of American Samoa, who has been named to the Bowl.
His selection to the Polynesian Bowl All Stars, announced this week, is welcome news for the Siaumau and Pereira families.
Edmund's proud aunt Josephine Siaumau says all credit goes to the team of women behind him — his grandmother Christina Pereira-Siaumau, grandaunt Frances L. Pereira, mother Rachel Siaumau and his aunt — single mothers who nurtured his passion for the game since day one.
"He has a passion for football, even when he was not old enough for ASYF (the youth football league in American Samoa) he made much effort to be there," Josephine told tautalatala from Mesa. "Sure enough, somehow he made it to either a practice or a game each week."
Josephine, who identifies as "the cool aunty" and behind-the-scenes backstage supporter, says she never went to any of his games.
"I'm the bus driver sometimes to and from practice or the gym or the games," she said.
Edmund, an 11th-grader at Faasao Marist High School has toured three universities so far, one in Nevada and two in Arizona, each school having expressed an interest in signing him.
Because Faasao Marist, a private Catholic co-ed school, has no football team, he plays for the Leone Lions. Edmund recently participated in the Polynesian Bowl Football Combine in Las Vegas and is currently in Mesa visiting his grandmother Christina.
Always Edmund's cheerleader, Josephine reminds her nephew: "Be a good sport. Focus. Rest. Eat. Sleep. And most important pray always and be humble!"
All Stars from Hawai'i, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, Louisiana, Indiana and as far away as Maryland meet in Hawai'i Jan. 19, 2019 for the Poly Bowl for football and a celebration of culture, states polynesianbowl.com.