Hawaiian Island roots have players bonded on field

Alexander Naveja, Associate Copy Editor

On the football team, a group of players that have made their presence known have built a very strong family connection and a brotherhood with one another.

One of the Hawaiian Island brothers, Norman Unga-Solomon, said, “We all live with each other.

Right now, it’s only the four of us – me, Gio, Wiki and Cordell.”

The players have a strong connection with each other on and off the field, but the family back home is the strong force.

Siosaia Kalavi said, “My brother got me involved, I didn’t like football but he started to play with me and I started to like it. He would take me to his football games and I would sit there and watch.”

Kalavi actually has a deeper feeling of why he plays football today.

He said, “The most inspirational person for me is my brother because he was the one who inspired me to play football and he passed away a couple of years ago so I play for him now.

“It reminds me of who I am playing for and what I am doing it for.”

Cordell Waahila, who is also a part of the Hawaiian family, has his family from home that he would like to pay back his dues.

“My mom is definitely my inspiration because I had it hard growing up. Hopefully I can pay her back for it with what I can do in my career,” Waahila said.

His family also played an important role in influencing him to play football.

“My uncles encouraged me to play football. I would’ve considered rugby since it’s big in the Polynesian culture,” he said.

Giovanni Chanes and Unga-Solomon have two different stories when it comes to family and football.

Chanes is the only one in his family that plays football, but with Solomon, his family is filled with football players.

It runs in his family.

“I do have family football history. My dad still holds the record for most interceptions and I am attempting to follow in his footsteps on defense,” Solomon said.

He also said, “I have a lot of family playing in college and the NFL level. My cousin Harvey Unga is playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars and I have a couple of cousins that are free agents. My cousin Joe Unga is playing for the Bills right now.”

Football is not the only passion, as school is a focus, as well.

Waahila would like to get his Bachelor’s Degree in business management.

Kalavi would like to get into the NFL draft because of his size.

Chanes would like to get into the NFL draft, as well, but if it doesn’t work out, he plans to use his scholarships from South Alabama University and University of Alabama Burmingham.

Solomon plans to take football as far as he can, but would like to help people to become fitness trainers.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta is very pleased to have the players, the brothers on his team and likes the way they conduct themselves toward the other players.

He said, “They are really good athletes. They have really happy personalities, they are tough on the field but are friendly off the field.”

Not only are they good with the other players, but with each other they are truly a family.

Mazzotta also said, “They are good to each other as well because they are really close and they are like brothers, they call each other brothers.

“They are very close, very dependable and very loyal and not only to their own people, but to football.”