Why is American Samoa called “Football Island”?

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American Samoa, a US territory in the South Pacific, is known as “Football Island” for producing more NFL players per capita than anywhere else. Samoan culture emphasizes discipline, respect, and spirituality, and the territory’s economy relies on tuna fishing and tourism.

Located in the South Pacific roughly midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, American Samoa has been a United States territory since 1900. One of the archipelago’s biggest claims to fame is that it produces more players than the NFL, per capita , than anywhere else in the world, earning it the nickname “Football Island”. Even though the territory’s total population is less than 56,000, there were 30 Samoan Americans on NFL rosters in 2015. Also as of 2015, an additional 200 athletes from American Samoa were playing NCAA Division 1 college football. In fact, a Samoan man is 56 times more likely to play professional soccer than a non-Samoan American.

Extra points about Samoa:

When you look at the islands of Polynesia as a whole, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Easter Island and New Zealand, there are more than 70 people of Polynesian descent in the National Football League.
Samoan culture emphasizes self-discipline, respect, and spirituality. Athletes are typically humble and polite (qualities appreciated by coaches) and players tend to be big, strong and fast. American Samoa also has the highest military conscription rate of the entire United States.
Tuna fishing, processing, and canning are the backbone of American Samoa’s economy, as well as a growing tourism industry. Controversially, most American Samoans are US citizens but are not US citizens.

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