Jones opens football clinic in American Samoa

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Southern Methodist University coach June Jones opened a free two-day football clinic Friday in American Samoa for high school players and coaches.

Jones was joined by Hawai‘i coach Greg McMackin and several current and former NFL players of Samoan descent including Jesse Sapolu, Ma’a Tanuvasa, Mel Purcell, Reagan Mauia, Paul Soliai and Leo Goeas.

The inaugural June Jones American Samoa Football Academy is being held at Veterans Memorial Stadium and will involve more than 500 athletes and 100 coaches.

Five $2,000 college scholarships that can be used at any U.S. college were to be awarded at the clinic. The recipients will be chosen based on recommendations and criteria established by the American Samoa Department of Education.

Jones, who accepted the SMU job just six days after Hawai‘i lost to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to finish the season 12-1, has recruited heavily from the U.S. territory during his years with the Warriors.

“I hold a special affection for the Polynesian culture and I know that this terrific group of coaches and players will make a real difference in helping to develop the game of football in American Samoa,” he said in a statement. “This special place emphasizes so many of the same character traits and values that make for an outstanding football player — hard work, diligence, loyalty and family.”

American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono called the clinic a “special blessing” for the island.

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