American Samoa is very very bad at soccer. To wit, between the time they began FIFA-sanctioned international play in 1994 and Tuesday morning, they won a grand total of zero matches, and were outscored 229-12. In 2001, they were on the unfortunate end of the most lopsided scoreline in the history of competitive international football, as Australia knocked 31 past them in a World Cup Qualifier. They are ranked #203 in the world by FIFA. There are only 203 members of FIFA. And then, Thomas Rongen arrived.
Thomas Rongen was born in Amsterdam and was a part of the Ajax youth and reserve setups before embarking on a long and successful soccer career in the United States. He played in the heyday of the NASL, and became a coach for various colleges upon his retirement. When MLS started up, he was named coach of the Tampa Bay Mutiny. He lead the Mutiny to the Supporters’ Shield in the inaugural season, and was named Coach of the Year. He later led D.C. United to their third MLS Cup in 1999.
Rongen was USA U-20s coach for the better part of a decade, and helped devise the international scouting network that has seen our national teams flooded with Afro-Germericans.
He also had unsuccessful stints with New England and Chivas USA, but since they’re New England and Chivas USA, we won’t count those. What we’re trying to say is that Thomas Rongen is a very accomplished coach. And last night, he accomplished what may be he greatest achievement: he led the worst national team in the world to their first-ever FIFA-sanctioned win.
Leading American Samoa out against comparative powerhouse Tonga (201st in the world, had won all seven previous meetings between the two teams), Rongen, who was hired just last month, masterminded a 2-1 victory, goals courtesy of Ramin Ott and Shalom Luani. Ott’s goal was the second of his international career, making him American Samoa’s all-time leading scorer.
We now fully expect American Samoa to easily qualify for, and probably even win, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Or maybe win another game. That’d probably be a good start.
Full Story: Washington Post