AIGA, known for their 7on7 team that has won two of the NLA Elite 7on7 tournaments in Las Vegas and the sponsors of the Polynesian All-American Game, took players from all over the Southland to the Bay to see the three schools.
And for several prospects, the trip netted them offers, and a handful, their first offers.
Earning offers on the visit were Menifee (Calif.) Heritage defensive end Sione Takitaki, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle defensive back Das Tautalatasi, Menifee (Calif.) Heritage running back Limihai Hifo, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco cornerback Chandler Hawkins, Corona (Calif.) Centennial offensive lineman Austin Maloata, Riverside (Calif.) King offensive lineman Sean Krepsz, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco offensive line Damien Mama, Oceanside (Calif.) defensive back Alijah Holder, Oceanside (Calif.) defensive back Mikah Holder, La Mesa (Calif.) Helix linebacker Reuben Leasau and Corona (Calif.) Centennial offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao.
Several of them commented on how the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.Reuben Leasau: "The AIGA trip meant to me a lot. I learned how to be humble and to have humility. I really appreciate all the coaches that made this trip possible for all of us and also like to say thanks to Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao for teaching us how to be humble and have humility while getting offers. This trip was way more exciting then I thought it was going to be. The bond we all built during this short amount of time was like no other bond. Even though we just meet each other, when we all separated I felt like we have known each other since we were little kids. The highlight of my trip was when most of us got offered. Once again thank you to all the people that helped make this trip possible and thank you Lord for keeping us safe."
Xavier Ulutu: "One thing I appreciated on this trip was the opportunity to experience and celebrate the offers that were granted to my Aiga Usos. It truly made this experience one to remember because of the unity we created when we celebrated. All the smiles, hugs, and brotherly love is one thing that most people will never experience. I will cherish this trip for the rest of my career. I would definitely recommend this trip to all my little brothers coming up. You will definitely experience the recruiting process, but the biggest thing is the relationship that you will build with your brothers. The brothers you will be going to visits, camps, and maybe even college with. I recommend this trip to all my little brothers out there. Just keeping it one hundred. But just remember when you are done with all this! Remember to give back to your family, community, and to AIGA! Thank you Lord!"
Sean Krepsz: "The trip up North was an awesome experience and I'm very thankful the guys let me be apart of it. It was great seeing all the schools and watching everyone get their offers and meeting the coaches. I really like how everyone was accepting and cool, it made me feel like family and I made relationships with these guys that I would never gotten the chance To meet. It's a huge honor to be asked to play in the Polynesian bowl as one of the first non-polys. Looking forward to the opportunity to play with all the new friends I made on the trip."
London Iakopo: "This trip this past weekend was amazing. Me and my brothers got closer everyday more than anyone thought we would. I was proud when my Brothers got offered from colleges this weekend. Even though I didn't receive one, the one thing that I remembered was no matter if I got one or not, if one if us did we all did. Once the first person got offered we all were thankful, and 1 by 1 more and more did. It was a blessing to spend this weekend with this Aiga. I am truly grateful to coach Troy Lau, coach Sione, coach Isamu, coach Mori, and Coach Rich Hawkins for providing this amazing trip and dedicating their time and effort to us the youth."
Xavier Tuitele: "This trip has meant a lot to me because it has opened my eyes to what college is really like, and it gives me more drive to continue to work hard on the field and in the classroom to reach my dreams of playing at the college level. Visiting the campuses and meeting with the coaches made the college life more of a reality for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to visit these Division 1 colleges and to see what their football program is like. Being invited to the Polynesian All American Bowl means a lot to me because it allows myself and other polys to be exposed and to show colleges how much talent there is out there in our Polynesian communities and I am excited to play with all of these elite athletes."
Isaiah Young: The trip that me and the group of guys took was a huge blessing for me and for all of the guys that went on the trip. The trip meant a lot to us because it gave a lot of us opportunities, such as, meeting the coaches which most athletes don't get to do. Being on the trip really opened up doors for us because the coaches got to see our highlight tapes, transcripts, and most importantly they got to meet us in person. Overall the trip was a great blessing and a huge honor to be apart of. Also after the trip all of the guys that went on the trip got invited to the Poly All American Bowl game and that was just another blessing itself because it is ranked the number 6th best bowl game. I can honestly say that the trip was great and even though I didn't get my first offer while on the trip I still had a great time meeting all the new people and seeing 13 people from the group get offered by San Jose State University made the trip meaningful.
Tai Teidemann: "This trip was a once in a life time experience. Even though this trip was suppose to be about business and staying focused (which we did) we still managed to have so much fun! The bond me and my brothers created over this weekend is an unbreakable one. The highlight of this trip was walking into Stanford and just seeing how beautiful the school was. It would be a dream come true to go there! I am so glad that we went on this trip because we all experienced the college life and most of us got offered. Even though I did not get offered, I am glad that all my brothers did because they all put in the hard work and effort to get them and im proud of them. I thank the AIGA foundation and all the coaches for making all this possible. But most importantly the man up stairs!"
Tyler Cook: "I feel so blessed to continually be surrounded by awesome people. This weekend I got to spend time with some of the top players and coaches, from some of the top high schools in the Nation. (Vista Murrieta, Saint John Bosco, Corona Centennial, Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Heritage, Oceanside, Helix, and Cathedral Catholic). Our trip was to 3 of the top College Football Programs on the West Coast. (Stanford, CAL, & San Jose State). We started out Friday at Stanford and got the red carpet treatment from Coach Shaw and his entire Staff. They gave us a tour of all their facilities, along with a power point presentation about their Academics and Athletic Program. We concluded our tour with a jog out through the tunnel into their stadium with music and highlights on the big screen. The adrenaline rush was intense. I could only imagine what it could be with 60,000 fans in the stadium. Day 2 brought us to SJSU for their Spring Game and Junior Day. Once again we were treated like royalty by Head Coach Caragher, Coach Donte Williams, and the rest of the San Jose State Staff. This day was special due to the fact that Team AIGA took 25 student athletes on this trip and 13 received offers, and one player "Limihai Hifo" committed. This was a very exciting and emotional moment, especially when Hifo got to call his dad in Hawaii and give him the great news. The evening was topped off with 2 separate dinners from very gracious Polynesian Family members from the bay area. I think I gained 10 lbs on this trip. Day 3 concluded with a visit to CAL. For me, this was the highlight of the trip. It started with our arrival in the beautiful town of Berkeley. We were met at the stadium by the entire CAL Staff, who had their spring game and Junior Day the day before. They were suppose to be starting their spring break with their families, but stayed around an extra day just to accommodate us. Their new facilities were the most state of the art I have seen to date. I think one of the Coaches said it was a 431 million dollar renovation. So the town and facilities had my attention. The most impressive part of the visit was Coach Dykes, Coach Buh, Coach Sacks, Coach Likens, and the rest of the CAL Coaching Staff. They treated each athlete, dad and members of our group with extreme hospitality and enthusiasm. I look forward to meeting the CAL players and learning more about the program from their perspective. I plan on returning for CAL's Elite Camp on June 8th. After a long drive the trip concluded with a meeting at Saint John Bosco with the AIGA Staff. The Coaching Staff and players met and invited me to be the first "Haole" as part of the Polynesian All-American Team. This is such an honor and very special to me. Being adopted by the AIGA Team will forever put the Polynesian Culture in my heart. They are my family."
Das Tautalatasi: "The trip that I went on was a great experience. During the trip, I received my first offer from San Jose State, which was the high point of the trip for me. Visits at San Jose State, Stanford, and Cal went well and getting to meet the coaches was nice as they seemed to be very interested in me and my friends that were with me. I also got accepted into the Polynesian All American Bowl towards the end of the trip which was like "icing on the cake" because on top of my first offer, I got accepted into the 6th ranked bowl game (ranked by USA Today). "
Viane Talamaivao: "This whole trip was a wonderful blessing to not only me, but for everyone who went on it. It was a great experience going up to northern California to see these Colleges like Stanford, San Jose State, and CAL. But for me, the best part of the trip was bonding with my brothers. Just being around all my usos and tokos on the trip was something really special. Especially seeing my brothers being blessed with opportunities to seek an education and an opportunity to play college ball. Seeing my AIGA being successful is something that really warms the heart man. This trip will be something I will always remember and carry with me for the rest of my life."
Justin Allen: "This trip up to Northern California was a really good thing for me. It helped me under stand the recruiting process a lot more and the opportunities that come with going to a four year division 1 college. As an athlete mentally it bettered me by seeing the expectations of becoming an elite athlete at the next level. I liked all of the colleges not only because the flashy uniforms and the decals on the helmet, but it made me want to work harder to raise my GPA and really crack down on all of my school work. It's becoming clearer to me that without grades all my hard work put in on the field and in the weight room is wasted because that alone won't do the job. Meeting the coaches and talking with them got me real excited and anxious for this next season and has me thinking open minded on where I would want to play at for the upcoming years."
Limihai Hifo: "First off, I like to thank The Lord for giving me the opportunity to go on the AIGA trip. Without him I don't even know where I'd be in life right now. This trip had to be a dream come true! Even though it was suppose to be about business, we all still managed to have a great time together and bond with each other and not only meet great new people, but to become more family like. The highlight of the trip to me was getting my first offer and everyone just being there to celebrate it with me. I know for a fact that all my brothers that went on the trip WILL get an offer from a D1 school. A scholarship is like the best thing ever! It makes me want to be a better person and just do right so I wouldn't lose it. I thank the AIGA foundation and all the coaches for making all this possible, and last but not least giving me the opportunity to also play in the all American poly bowl! I'm stoked about it and I know it's going to be a great time! Having the chance to play with my brothers doing what We love most! This experience has changed my whole life and made me a better person. Thank you AIGA foundation for everything, I love you guys all. All glory goes to our lord above."
Taylor Lau: "I thought the trip was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Every college was amazing in their own ways which made me want to go each one of them when I go to college. The coaches at each school were very cool and were all about making sure we knew how excited they were for us to be there and what their school could offer for us. Stanford's academics are far beyond what I imagined and the opportunities I could have if I went their are endless. The campus was outstanding and reminded me of the Europe during the Renaissance. The coaches were very nice and made sure we had a great time. San Jose State was also outstanding and showed how modern a school could be. The coaches were all very cool especially Coach Donte, the corners position coach. California Berkeley was my favorite college on the trip though. It had perfect weather, perfect athletic and academic facilities for my personal needs, and a great coaching staff that I can get along with very easily. Being the youngest athlete on the trip, I was able to experience the recruiting process at each school and observe what to do and what not to do in terms of my future career when it comes to being recruited. I am truly blessed to be apart of the Aiga team, who not only won the Vegas Badger Sport tournament, but also went on this amazing trip and helped get 13+ athletes college offers for scholarships. This entire trip was my favorite memory, because I cannot favor one day over the rest. I am very excited about any future trips Aiga decides to do and can't wait to go on them!"
Matthew Palmer: "The trip was awesome! It was really cool that we got to see all 3 of the campuses during pretty much the coaches spring break. They took their free time & used it to see us, thats a pretty cool deal if you ask me. The college I liked the most was Cal. Wow what a facility, my jaw was on the floor the whole time. Brand new everything. I really liked the coaching staff they were cool to talk to. I just really love the area, the weather, the people, and the education is #1. Its the kind of area I'd like to live in when it's all said & done. Being selected to the Polynesian All American Bowl game is a real honor to me & my family. Such a blessing to be one of the 1st non-poly players to ever be chosen to play in this game. Thank you AIGA. Getting a scholarship would mean so much to me & my family. My dad is the only one to have earned a degree in my family. I've been working hard for years with this goal on my mind constantly. It would mean everything to get a scholarship, ill play for anyone it doesn't matter. I just want a chance to compete and play the game I love while earning my education. That would be a dream come true."
AIGA at Stanford
AIGA at San Jose State
AIGA at Cal