By Bridget Connolly, Morehead State Athletic Media Relations
Third in a series highlighting international student-athletes at Morehead State, their cultures, and why they chose to attend Morehead State. If you are an international student, there are wonderful resources to help you attend MSU. Click here for more information. This series is also being researched and was written by an international student-athlete herself, Bridget Connollyfrom New Zealand.
MOREHEAD, Ky. —
Sese Aumavae is a student athlete from an island group in the South Pacific Ocean called American Samoa. He is a senior on the Morehead State football team and is majoring in sports management.
He chose to become an Eagle at Morehead State because it meant he was able to pursue his dream of playing Division I football. Football has always been part of his life.
“I got into football at a very young age of 10. I started playing pick-up football with my cousins on our big lopsided field,” he said.
This love for football continued to grow, leading to his commitment to play as a D1 athlete at Morehead State.
“I love being on the football team here at Morehead State. More specifically I like bonding as a team, learning to play as a team, and continually learning more about the game of football.”
Aumavae is also interested in a lot of other sports.
“I would definitely play other sports such as rugby, volleyball, golf, basketball, cricket, and boat racing if I was back home.”
Home for Sese is something that he is extremely proud of.
“I get shivers thinking about what I am proud of from home, I love my culture and that gives me a platform for me to follow and embrace,” he said.
Therefore, moving to Kentucky wasn’t easy, and he encountered many different culture shocks, the biggest of which was when he first arrived in Kentucky.
“All my life I have been around Polynesian people or people of my ethnicity.”
Therefore, Kentucky was very different to what he was used to. He describes his culture as like the movie Moana, as “the lifestyle Moana’s tribe was living, are my cultures and my way of life.”
Like many other international students, COVID had major implications for Aumavae. He was unable to go home and be with his family as the pandemic shut down the borders into American Samoa.
“Home was the one place I wanted to be during this time,” he said. “Morehead started off rough but has ended up being a place I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Being part of the Morehead State football team was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I was told coming from a junior college in ‘the middle of nowhere’ (Cisco in Texas), that once you reach Division I football, you’re automatically going to be an outcast. Guess what, they were definitely wrong.”
Aumavae has signed on for a fifth year to play for Morehead State. However, after graduation, he has ambitions to be a regional scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers and work towards the NFL combine organization.
To follow Sese and the Morehead State football team, updates will be posted on the MSU athletics website and Twitter page. The Eagles open the 2022 season at Mercer in Macon, Ga., on Aug. 27.