NAMPA — Even if the future could be predicted, it’s likely Ashley (Galeai) Iupati would have never imagined that today she’d be on a charter flight across the country to Super Bowl XLVII.
Further, it would be almost impossible to anticipate the trip would be to cheer for her husband — San Francisco 49er left guard Mike Iupati.
Ashley Iupati, a 2006 graduate of Skyview High School, will touchdown in The Big Easy today with about 15 members of her extended family, including the couple’s 6-month-old son, KoaAli’i Iupati.
Ashley and Mike met in 2009 in Moscow when her family traveled north to see her cousin, who played for University of Hawaii’s football team, play the University of Idaho.
Mike Iupati, originally from American-Samoa, then Anaheim, Calif., graduated from UI in 2010 as an NCAA All-American and Outland Trophy Finalist. He was then drafted No. 17 overall by the 49ers in the 2010 NFL draft.
The pair married in February 2012 and currently live in south San Jose, Calif.
“I never imagined that this was where I would be when thinking about my future,” she said. “We’re just very blessed to be in this position and with this great team.”
Ashley Iupati was a three-sport, stand-out athlete at Skyview and volleyball player at Northwest Nazarene University. She transferred from The College of Idaho after two years and graduated in 2011 from NNU with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education in kinesiology with a minor in health.
She visited family in Nampa just before Christmas, and all three travel to Idaho during the off-season regularly. When home, Ashley Iupati makes a point to see her best friend Aubrey and typically visits Sonic Drive-In. “We don’t have those over here,” she giggled.
Mike Iupati works long hours and travels every other weekend to away games, but always makes time for family, she said. In college, when media asked what he would do with money from an NFL contract, the former Vandal said the first thing he would do is buy a home for his parents. Ashley Iupati said he kept good on his word.
“He is definitely a family guy — always thinking about putting us first,” Ashley Iupati said. “He loves being a dad.”
And she loves being a mom.
“I love being a wife and a mom … definitely wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she said.
Still, she said the off-season can’t come quick enough. She said the family plans to travel to American-Samoa, where the NFL Pro Bowler grew up.
She and her husband keep up with the many Vandal fans who express their love of Mike Iupati’s career, often on Facebook.
“A lot of people saw him coming off the plane wearing his Idaho bag,” she said. “It’s cool to see that they’re proud of him. He loves it.”
It will be the first time any of the family will go to the Super Bowl, though hopefully not the last, she said.
“(Our) parents are excited … everybody is just really proud of Mike and happy for him, and super happy we get to experience this with him,” Ashley Iupati said. “I think it’s going to be another close game, I have a feeling. I hope it’s not a heart attack the entire game.”