Maria Salamasina

This dream was realised recently when Mrs Maria Akenese Saveaalii’ Salamasina, a 27 year old hailing from Faatoia and Faleula represented Samoa at the 2016 Algarve Cup in Portugal.
Maria a talented sports woman in her own right has been a senior football referee in Samoa for the last 5 years. She was selected in January by FIFA and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) to be Football Federation Samoa’s (FFS) representative at the Algarve Cup which was run from the 2nd – 9th March 2016. The actual tournament was preceded by a FIFA referee seminar conducted from the 27th February to the 1st March 2016 which Maria was also privileged to be invited.
From 11 OFC member associations which include Samoa, Maria was joined by two other officials from Cook Islands and Fiji.
The Algarve Cup is a global invitational tournament for women’s national football teams; held annually in the Algarve region of Portugal since 1994, dubbed to be one of the most prestigious women’s football events. For this year’s tournament, eight countries participated from Brazil, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal and Russia.
Maria is the first Samoa female referee recognized by FIFA to be a match official at its International Tournaments. She is also the only locally based referee eligible to officiate in the OFC Tournaments.
According to Maria, she has been involved in various sports including athletics, rugby and boxing, however she switched to Football or Soccer as it is commonly known in 2008 and has not looked back.
“Being part of the FIFA Activities is challenging as it is a prestigious event with all the best referees participating,” an excited Maria says. “However I see this as an opportunity for Samoa and local women interested in refereeing soccer to pursue it as a career.”
Maria has represented Samoa in international and OFC championships. She looks forward to future international opportunities as such and hopes to set an example for other women in soccer to pursue their dreams and make the most of opportunities that become available.