Tongan journalist and former American football player Vai Sikahema is a former American football player. From 1986 to 1993, he was recruited by the National Football League (NFL) to play running back and kickoff return. This article will look closely at Via Sikahema net worth, career, and more.
The Brigham Young University Cougars were the team he played for during his college football career. It was the Arizona Cardinals (now the St. Louis Cardinals) that selected him in the 1986 NFL Draft. Following his retirement from the NFL, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers.
WCAU, NBC’s owned-and-operated station in Philadelphia, where he has been Sports Director since 1994, is one of his most recent jobs since retiring.
Early life and education
Via Sikahema was born on August 29, 1962, in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. In order to attend the Church College of Hawai’i (now Brigham Young University Hawaii), Sikahema and his siblings were left in Tonga by their parents.
In the year following the plane crash, the Polynesian Cultural Center provided enough money so that Sikahema could join them. As a result, he and his family moved to Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix in the U.S. state of Arizona. His other siblings were eventually able to join them after they acquired legal resident status here. During his high school years, Sikahema played football for Mesa High School.
Parents of Via Sikahema
Via Sikahema was born and raised in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. His parents, Sione and Mele, instilled a strong sense of family and community in him. A deep appreciation for his Tongan heritage was instilled in him by his parents who emphasized the importance of education and hard work. Vai has spoken about how his parents’ influence has been a guiding force in his life and career and how he works to honor their memory and legacy.
College football career
As a college football player at Brigham Young University (BYU) from 1981 to 1984, Sikahema represented the BYU Cougars. He was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection and set a school record for most kickoff return yards in a career.
Sikahema was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 1985 after graduating from BYU.
Overview of career highlights
During his time at Brigham Young University, Vai played football for the Cougars. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Vai in the tenth round of the NFL draft after completing his four years in college.
A record was broken when Via Sikahema became the first Tonga to play in the NFL. In the years that followed, his younger cousins joined the ranks of Tongan NFL players. Reno Mahe (of the Philadelphia Eagles) and Deuce Lutui (of the Arizona Cardinals) are two of these players.
In the years between 1986 and 1990, Vai was both a running back and a punt returner for the Cardinals. A two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles followed in 1992 and 1993 after Vai briefly played for the Green Bay Packers in 1991.
Having played eight seasons in the National Football League, Vai retired from the sport. WCAU, a Philadelphia television station, hired Vai to broadcast sports news on weekends during his retirement. A CBS affiliate, WCAU, owned the station at the time. NBC hired him as a sports newscaster during the weekdays following the station’s sale to NBC. Having worked there for some time, he was promoted to the position of director of sports.
In addition to writing a column for Desert News, Vai is also a regular contributor to CNN. Rather than being sports-related, this news column focuses on issues and topics around religion.
He quickly established himself as one of the league’s top kick returners and earned a spot on the NFL All-Pro team in 1986 and 1987. Sikahema played for the Eagles for eight seasons before signing with the Arizona Cardinals in 1993. As a professional footballer, he retired in 1997.
The broadcasting career of Via Sikahema
A broadcasting career followed Sikahema’s retirement from professional football. He has worked as a sports anchor and reporter for various television stations in the Philadelphia and Phoenix areas. He currently works as a sportscaster for NBC10 in Philadelphia, where he has been since 1997.
Via Sikahema net worth and salary
Via Sikahema net worth is around $3 million from his professional football player and sportscaster career. He has also been involved in various business ventures and has made investments in real estate, which has contributed to his net worth.
The salary of Via Sikahema, a sports director and journalist, is currently reported to be around $325,000 per year. Even though he makes a good living in this position and is estimated to have earned a few million dollars during his football career, his net worth is only between two and six million dollars.
Personal life of Via Sikahema
Together with his wife Keala, Sikahema is the father of five children. He is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has been open about his faith and its influence on his life, including his marriage.
Via Sikahema’s charity work
In addition to helping others, Sikahema is passionate about giving back to the community. Over the course of his career, he has supported a variety of charitable organizations and causes. In addition to his passion for human trafficking, he advocates for several other causes. Sikahema has been a vocal advocate for this cause and has worked with organizations such as the Polaris Project to raise awareness and funds to combat human trafficking.
He also has been involved with the Tongan American Association of Philadelphia, which provides assistance to Tongan immigrants in the Philadelphia area and also supports education and cultural preservation for Tongans in the United States.
In addition, Sikahema has been actively involved with the ViaSikahema Foundation, which he founded in 1999. The foundation aims to provide scholarships to Tongan students and support community programs in Tonga.
Sikahema’s philanthropic efforts have had a significant impact on the communities he has worked with. Over 100 Tongan students have received scholarships from his foundation, helping them to achieve their educational goals. His advocacy for human trafficking has also helped to raise awareness and funds for organizations working to combat this issue.
Retirement of football legend Via Sikahema
On the sunny afternoon of October 1st, 1992, football fans across the country were left in shock and disbelief as Via Sikahema, one of the most talented and beloved players, announced his retirement from professional football. Sikahema, who had played for the Phoenix Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers during his illustrious career, cited a desire to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests as the reason for his decision.
Sikahema’s retirement marked the end of an era for many fans, who had come to know and love him for his fierce competitiveness, unwavering commitment to his team and community, and undeniable talent on the field. Throughout his career, Sikahema had established himself as one of the most dynamic and versatile players, earning accolades from coaches, teammates, and fans.
Despite his decision to retire, Sikahema’s legacy lived on, inspiring future generations of football players to strive for excellence and to give back to their communities. His contributions to the game and the community and his work as a broadcast journalist after his retirement will always be remembered and honored by all who knew him.
It was a bittersweet moment for football fans everywhere as they said goodbye to one of the greatest players in the game, but his impact on the sport and his community will be felt for years to come. Via Sikahema will always be remembered as a true legend in professional football.
Via Sikahema awards and achievements
Via Sikahema is an accomplished individual who has achieved a great deal throughout his career, both on and off the field. On the field, Sikahema was a two-time All-American kick returner at Brigham Young University (BYU) and set a then-NCAA record for most kickoff return yards in a single game.
Over the course of his eight-year NFL career, he played for St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles. As well as being the first Tongan to play in the NFL, he was also the first Tongan to be drafted.
Off the field, Sikahema has been recognized for contributing to his community and culture. In recognition of his contributions to his community, Sikahema was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
He is also a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served as a missionary in the Philippines and as a bishop in his local congregation. He is also an advocate for education, and he and his wife founded the VIA Foundation to help provide educational opportunities for underprivileged children.
Sikahema was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater, Brigham Young University, in 2018. He has also been active in the Tongan community and culture. He has been an ambassador of his culture and worked to promote the Tongan culture and heritage in the United States. All these achievements showcase his dedication and hard work toward his profession, community, and culture.
Some interesting facts about Via Sikahema
- Sikahema grew up in a Tongan family in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was the first to play in the National Football League (NFL).
- He was a two-time All-American kick returner at Brigham Young University (BYU) and set a then-NCAA record for most kickoff return yards in a single game.
- During his eight-year NFL career, he played for St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, the Green Bay Packers, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
- After retiring from the NFL, Sikahema became a sportscaster and has worked for several television stations, including NBC10 in Philadelphia.
- Sikahema is also a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served as a missionary in the Philippines and as a bishop in his local congregation.
- In recognition of his contributions to his community, Sikahema was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
- Sikahema has been active in the Tongan community and culture. He has been an ambassador of his culture and worked to promote the Tongan culture and heritage in the United States.
- Sikahema is an advocate for education, and he and his wife founded the VIA Foundation to help provide educational opportunities for underprivileged children.
- Sikahema was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater, Brigham Young University, in 2018.
Via Sikahema is a former professional American football player and current sportscaster who has had a successful and accomplished career both on and off the field. Via Sikahema net worth is around $3 million. From his early days growing up in Salt Lake City to his time as a college football star at BYU and his professional career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, Sikahema has made a significant impact on the sport of football. He has also positively influenced his community and is a trailblazer for other Polynesian athletes.
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FAQs (frequently asked questions)
A former American football player and sportscaster, Via Sikahema is now a sportscaster. Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Arizona Cardinals were among his National Football League (NFL) teams where he returned kicks and punts. He later became a sportscaster for NBC10 in Philadelphia.
Via Sikahema played in the NFL from 1986 to 1997. As a member of the St. Louis Cardinals (now Arizona Cardinals) he was drafted in the 10th round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He played for the team for four seasons before being traded to the Green Bay Packers and signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.
During his NFL career, Via Sikahema was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, and a two-time NFC Special Teams Player of the Month.
He also set the NFL record for most consecutive games with a kick return for a touchdown (two) and holds the Eagles’ franchise record for most punt return yards in a single season.
Via Sikahema began working as a sportscaster for NBC10 in Philadelphia immediately after retiring from the NFL in 1997. He has been with the station since, covering many sports events and teams, including the Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers.
Via Sikahema is also known for his philanthropy and community service. He is heavily involved in various charities and non-profit organizations. He has been recognized for his work with the Via Sikahema Foundation, which provides scholarships and support to underprivileged children and families.