American Samoa has sent over 30 players to the NFL and over 200 more play football in Division 1 schools. This week 60 minutes showed a segment on the American territory, asking, how can a territory this small turn out such great players with no youth leagues, no practice fields, and no equipment?
In American Samoa, 2/3 of the population lives below the poverty line and 80% of the area’s economy relies on a shrinking tuna industry. For Samoa, football is an economic niche that can get young people off the islands and bring resources back to the islands.
Troy Polamalu doesn’t equivocate. He says: “Its our meal ticket, you know, just like any marginalized ethnic group, if you don’t make it into the NFL, what do you have to go back to?… That’s the beautiful thing about football, its allowed us to get an education.”
Find his interview in the second video segment below at minute 2:30.