Jaiyah Saelua made history in 2011 when she played a key role in American Samoa beating Tonga in the team's first victory in international soccer, as well as a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Now, the athlete is being featured in a film called "Next Goal Wins," a documentary that chronicles Saelua and the team, as well as this first-ever victory for American Samoa.
In a recent interview with VICE, Saelua opened up about her transgender identity, as well as the role of transgender people within American Samoa culture. She specifically talks about the identity and space provided for transgender individuals within the culture of American Samoa.
There’s an understanding; we call it fa'afafine. It literally translates into way of a woman or womanly, and applies strictly to male-to-female transgenders. There are responsibilities within the community and the family, such as being able to organize events, funerals, weddings. And making sure you know how to do female and male jobs in the household. There's an association — the Society of Fa’afafine in American Samoa, or SOFIAS. Every year they do a fundraiser, and proceeds are split between a home for the elderly run by the Catholic Church and a children’s ward at the hospital.
Head here to read the full interview with VICE and check out the the trailer for "Next Goal Wins" above.
The film is currently in theaters in LA, NY and SF, but any fan can bring the film to their hometown via Gathr Films' Theatrical On Demand program by requesting a screening at nextgoalwinsmovie.com.