- Taumoepenu grew up with his mother’s family about 3,000 miles east of Australia on the island of Tongatapu, which is the main island in the Tongan archipelago. He learned to develop his work ethic on his grandparents farm, where he helped grow pineapples and watermelons.
- Growing up in Tonga, the common sports played are rugby and cricket. Taumoepenu’s experience playing rugby helped his transition to football. Said Taumoepenu, “It was hard for me to see through that facemask. I came from rugby to football. It was pretty difficult at times. But I told myself I can do it. And basically I just tried to stay positive.”
- After moving in with his aunt in Provo, UT, Taumoepenu worked to develop his English. He increased his ACT score from an 18 when he first arrived in the United States to a 28 just one year later. Taumoepenu’s dedication and hard work continued to pay off, completing degrees in economics and sociology in three years at Utah.
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