Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he will be attending Super Bowl XLIII this weekend in support of the six Polynesian players, from Samoa, Tonga, and Hawaii, who will be playing for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday, February 1, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.
The six players playing in this year’s Super Bowl are Chris Kemoeatu (Tongan) and Troy Polamalu (Samoan) of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Aaron Francisco (Hawaiian), Pago Togafau (Samoan), Travis Laboy (Hawaiian), and Deuce Lutui (Tongan) of the Arizona Cardinals.
“I am very proud of our sons of Polynesia who will be representing our Asia Pacific American community in this year’s NFL Super Bowl Championship,” Faleomavaega said. “I commend these young men for their hard work and determination which has brought them to this level of monumental achievement in one of America’s prestigious sport. These players have had to overcome great obstacles to be where they are today and they continue to be great role models for our young people who have great aspirations and talent for major sports.”
Chris Kemoeatu graduated from the University of Utah and will be playing in his first Super Bowl. Aaron Francisco signed as an undrafted free agent in 2005 after graduating from Brigham Young University. Pago Togafau hails from Long Beach, California and is a graduate of Idaho State University. Pago too was signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cardinals in 2007.
“Interestingly, Chris Kemoeatu and Aaron Francisco are both graduates of Kahuku High School, my alma mater. This is a unique experience for Chris and Aaron because they both graduated in the same year and played side by side as Red Raiders. During this Super Bowl, they will be opposing each other,” said Faleomavaega.
Travis Laboy was born in Honolulu, and played three seasons for the University of Hawaii Warriors. Last year, Travis signed a five-year contract with the Cardinals after being drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the 2nd Round in 2004. Deuce Lutui was born in Ha’apai, Tonga and played for the University of Southern California (USC). He is a member of the USC team that won the 2004 BCS National Championship. Deuce Lutui has started in every Cardinal game for the last two seasons.
Troy Polamalu is also a graduate of USC and this is his second Super Bowl appearance with the Steelers. He is a 5-time Pro Bowler and is expected to start in the 2009 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
“I have been in touch with Troy’s uncle, Kennedy “Pola” Polamalu, who has been the Running Backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars the past four seasons. It is my understanding that there will be many family members and friends attending Sunday’s game. Regardless of who wins the Super Bowl, I know we will get together with all our Polynesian boys and their families for a victory celebration. I am excited because this is the first Super Bowl where we have so many Polynesians on the team rosters,” said Faleomavaega.
“At this time, I would like join our Asian and Pacific American community in extending our well wishes and congratulations to our Polynesian football players for their participation in this year’s Super Bowl. Their success in such a major sport highlights the many contributions of some 15 million Asian and Pacific Americans in the U.S. today,” concluded Faleomavaega.