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Carolina Panthers

Frankie Luvu earns U.S. citizenship this offseason

Frankie Luvu

CHARLOTTE – Frankie Luvu's offseason study regimen included that new 3-4 base defense – and United States civics.

The Panthers' rising star linebacker earned his U.S. citizenship recently, granting him voting rights in the country and helping him sponsor his parents, who are not U.S. citizens. He said he hopes to get them to more games.

"The big reason why I did want to get my citizenship was to sponsor my parents," Luvu said. "My mom is from Western Samoa. … And my dad is from Fiji, so for them, they need somebody to sponsor them as far as being a citizen and everything. The bigger picture of me doing everything I did was to sponsor them, and getting them out here to watch my games and watch me play pro."

Luvu is a native of American Samoa, a U.S. territory. Those living in American Samoa, an area covering seven South Pacific islands and atolls, are not considered citizens of the U.S.; they're nationals, which grants them some entitlements (such as consular protection) but lacks in other citizen benefits, such as voting and eligibility for certain jobs.

Luvu grew up in Tafuna, the most populous village in American Samoa, and came to the U.S. to play college football at Washington State in 2014.

He started the process of becoming a citizen last year, and started preparing for the civics test. Luvu said he studied 100 questions about American government and history, and 10 questions had to be answered correctly.

The whole test is an oral exam, so Luvu would practice with athletic trainers in the offseason while working out.

Frankie Luvu

"I had to study for like 100 questions," Luvu said. "They picked out of those 100 like 10 questions, random. This is all orally. There's no multiple choice. You can't write it down. It's not a written test. … It took a whole year getting there."

Luvu said he was supported throughout the process by vice president of player affairs Kevin Winston and player affairs manager Jaiquawn Jarrett, who both showed up for his naturalization ceremony in August.

"Just showing love, they're always wanting to dive in anything, as far as success," Luvu said. "I was really low-key about it, get it done, get back to work. But once they knew about it, they're like, 'Yeah, man, we want to come out, support.' So yeah, they came out and showed love. I appreciate that."

Luvu said his parents will be at the Panthers' game against Seattle on Sept. 24, and he said he expects them to start the naturalization process soon.

In the meantime, Luvu's teammates made an addition to his nickname "Uce," short for the Samoan word "Uso," meaning brother.

He's American Uce now.

Frankie Luvu

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