American Samoa is the latest spot on the globe to embrace rugby league with news that the American National Rugby League is expanding its reach to the US territory in the South Pacific.
The AMNRL has appointed USA Tomahawk Keiki Misipeka as its new Development Manager.
Misipeka, who has had stints in the USA Rugby Super League with the Chicago Griffins, will be responsible for setting up a pathway for young players to be identified for future Tomahawks selections, along with opportunities to play overseas and in the AMNRL’s competitions.
“I'm very passionate about developing rugby league in American Samoa,” said Misipeka.
“I truly believe it goes to show how rapidly the AMNRL has grown across the country and has reached our shores. I will do the best I can to develop athletes here and hope one day we are able to hold our own AMNRL competition.”
American Samoa is renowned as a place that produces more American football players per capita than any other state in the Union and among Misipeka’s tasks will be the identification of potential rugby league talent to be placed with AMNRL clubs on the mainland and in Hawaii.
Misipeka says that as an international player returning to his roots, he wants to pass on his knowledge and experience to American Samoa youth.
“I have in my plans to meet with the Governor of American Samoa and introduce AMNRL and also invite him to the Ohana Cup (May 12) in Hawaii between USA and Tonga,” continued Misipeka. “He is a big advocate of rugby and expanding Sports Tourism in the territory.
“I've been training with my local Union club and the president of our club has agreed that when the AMNRL and I are ready to start development I can incorporate league drills and training into our sessions.
“As the Development Officer, I will take these drills and training to other interested clubs on the island. I'm able to develop athletes here and clubs from the AMNRL competition in the United States can recruit our local athletes.
“My long term goal is to form an AMNRL expansion League in American Samoa.”
The AMNRL’s expansion program has seen the formation of new conferences and teams across the US from the Midwest to the Southeast, west to Denver, Utah and Las Vegasand out to Hawaii.
“Gaining a foothold in American Samoa is a huge positive for the AMNRL and rugby league in general and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity, through Keiki’s involvement, to tap into a wonderful talent pool and grow this great game,” said AMNRL president David Niu.
To Learn more about AMNRL American Samoa contact Keiki Misipeka here