Here’s How American Somoa Became A Big Exporter Of NFL Talent


American Samoa, an island of 50,000 people, is a hotbed of NFL players.

2,600 miles south of Hawaii, American Samoa is about as far as you can be while still being in the U.S. — it’s also loaded with football talent. The island has sent 33 players to the NFL and 200+ more to Division One college programs nationwide. An American Samoan man is also 56x more likely to make the NFL than any other American man.

The island’s strong football heritage is all the more incredible, because they don’t have nearly the same funding and facilities that most mainland programs do. As recently as 2008, American Samoa had no Pop Warner and only six of their high schools even offered football. In fact, some NFL players from American Samoa learned the sport by playing on dirt fields with second hand equipment. Junior Siavii, who played in the NFL from 2004 to 2010, said that he and his friends used milk cartons as makeshift footballs growing up.

The island’s football legacy also extends far beyond it. Many mainland-born players of Samoan descent, like Junior Seau and Troy Polamalu have gone on to legendary NFL careers as well. In fact, Seau is the first player of Polynesian and Samoan descent.