Sports in American Samoa
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (January 2010)|
Sports in American Samoa is not that different from Samoa. The main difference is the popularity of American sports such as American football (gridiron) and its league, NFL. Western Samoans tend to follow rugby union.
American football is a growing sport in American Samoa. About 30 ethnic Samoans, many from American Samoa, currently play in the NFL. A 2002 article from estimated that a Samoan male (either an American Samoan, or a Samoan living in the 50 United States) is 40 times more likely to play in the NFL than a non-Samoan American.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, though born and raised in the mainland United States, is perhaps the most famous Samoan in the NFL, having not gotten his haircut since 2000 (and only because a former USC coach told him he had to) and wearing it down during games in honor of his heritage.
Rugby union in American Samoa is a growing sport. The governing body is the American Samoa Rugby Union (ASRU), which is a full member of both the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). Rugby union has been played in American Samoa since at least 1924, but the national development of the game has been overshadowed by the popularity of American football since the 1970s. The ASRU was only established in 1990, and did not became fully affiliated to the IRB until 2012.
The American Samoa national rugby league team represents the country in international rugby league. The team has competed in the 1988, 1992, 1998 and 2004 Pacific Cup competitions. The team has also competed in the 2003 and 2004 Rugby League World Sevens qualifiers in the 2005 World Sevens competition. America Samoa's first match in international rugby league was in the 1988 Pacific Cup against Tonga. The Tongan national team won the match 38-14 which is still the biggest lost by an American Samoan side. American Samoa's biggest win was in 2004 against New Caledonia with the score ending at 62-6.
American Samoa gets broadcast of the National Rugby League in Australia on free-to-air television. There is also a movement which aims to set up a four team domestic competition in American Samoa.
A number have also ventured into professional wrestling (see: Anoa'i family). World Wrestling Entertainment has employed many members from the Anoa'i family, most famously Dwayne Johnson. The company most recently employed Anoa'i member Eddie Fatu, better known to wrestling fans as Umaga, who had a traditional Samoan gimmick and was also known at times as the Samoan Bulldozer. Also in professional wrestling, under the brand TNA or Total Nonstop Action, there is a wrestler called Samoa Joe.
The American Samoa national soccer team is ranked near the bottom of the FIFA rankings. It also has the distinction of suffering the worst loss in international football history. They lost to Australia 31-0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match on April 11, 2001. They won their first international match 2-1 against Tonga on November 24, 2011.
- American Samoa at the 1996 Summer Olympics
- American Samoa at the 2000 Summer Olympics
- Rugby union in American Samoa
- American Samoa national rugby league team
- American Samoa national baseball team
- American Samoa national football team (soccer)
- Nauright, John; Parrish, Charles, eds. (2012). Sports Around the World: History, Culture, and Practice. ABC-CLIO. p. 446. ISBN 978-1-59884-300-2. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Welcome to Amerika Samoa Rugby". American Samoa Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 13 August 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.