Being named ‘Coach of the Tournament’ at the Under 19 World Football Championship is an honour for Pooch Ta’ase — but helping young people grow in skills and character, he says, is a far more rewarding part of the job.
Coach Ta’ase was selected by his coaching peers and the coordinators of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) as the coach of the tournament that concluded recently [7 July 2012] in Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
“As a coach my mission is to treat students as potential leaders in their respective communities,” he says. “Teams are like families, working collaboratively to accomplish lofty goals on the field, and in life.”
Part of that, he says, is instilling strong values in his players and fellow coaches, such as using clean language, being humble, and “expressing gratitude to a loving God.”
Coach Ta’ase is a prime example of the principles he teaches. Even after a long, arduous summer of preparing for the world championships, he can be found in the early morning hours in his office in Fagaitua High School preparing for the upcoming season starting in August.
As head coach of the Fagaitua Vikings for twelve years he has captured seven territorial championships and four of seven Samoa Bowl victories against All Star teams from the State of Hawaii and California.
His latest accomplishment was placing fifth in the world championship tournament where they lost their first game to the USA 27 to 6, defeated Panama 51 to 0, and out-muscled the French team 27- 14. Two of his players were named into the All Tournament Team.
American Samoa’s Governor Togiola Tulufono congratulated Coach Ta’ase, saying, “This is indeed a very special honor for all of American Samoa and especially for Coach Pooch Ta’ase.”
The Governor went on to thank Coach Ta’ase for “his commitment to our young people across the Territory.”
Coach Ta’ase says he attributes all of his success in working with youth to the Lord for blessing him with the talent, skills, health, strength, and vision to sustain him in his goal to help all of his students be successful in life.
Ta'ase is a member of the Aua First Ward [congregation] of the Pago Pago Samoa Stake [similar to a diocese] of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has worked with American Samoan youth all of his teaching career, under the jurisdiction of the American Samoa Department of Education (ASDOE).
He also serves as a volunteer in his church teaching principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to adults and youth.