Trio of Samoan players lead UTPB football team

Trio of Samoan players lead UTPB football team

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The UTPB football spring season just began recently, so we decided to look at the roster. Of the 71 players listed, only six come from a different state, of those six, three of them hail from the same place. Now where that place, the Samoan Islands.

"They don't say much, so good luck in the interview," said UTPB coach Justin Carrigan. "But they play hard, they bring it."

A.J. Fano, Leti Manu and Frank Seiuli are all senior defensive linemen for the Falcons, and are all from Pago-Pago, where they went to high school together.

It takes more than 11 hours to fly there, if they ever got the chance.

"It's terrible," said Seiuli. "All I do is sleep. As soon as I got on the plan is sleep and that's it."

They say differences between Odessa and home for them are huge.

"Back home, all you got to do is, you've got your family, when they cook, you're so happy when you see your family," said Seiuli. "Anything you want, they value. But over here is way different. But west Texas is like, the weather. I don't like the weather. It's cold, hot, cold, hot, and they say it's west Texas weather."

Because they have each other, it makes easier to get through all the changes they've had to go through.

"I feel like I'm at home," said Fano. "If I came and they weren't here, I don't know what I would do to be honest. I think I would, I don't know. Not only that, I've got a scholarship, free school, an education."

For most of the team, they're only hours away from home, and the trio says it puts their situation in perspective.

"I feel bad," said Manu. "I feel like, they're lucky. They're close to their families. But us, we're far."

Regardless of all the changes they've been through, they never really thought they'd end up here in Odessa.

"Oh no, I never heard about Odessa until now," said Fano.

"You never heard of it, not even from Friday night lights," asked Gerald Tracy.

"Yeah, I heard about Friday Night Lights, but I didn't know it was here in Odessa," said Fano.

The trio said that after graduation they plan to go back home to visit, but to continue their life here in the states.

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