Ex-Chivas USA boss takes Samoan reins
Just a few weeks after former Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley took charge of Egypt's national team, another former Goats boss has accepted a job guiding a sort-of foreign national team.
Dutchman Thomas Rongen, who has been based in the U.S. since arriving in 1979 to play for the L.A. Aztecs, will lead American Samoa through its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Samoans' chances of qualifying? Nil. The country has never won an international game and holds the FIFA record for most lopsided loss, a 31-0 defeat to Australia in a 2002 World Cup qualifier.
“I'm an explorer,” Rongen told The Washington Post. “It's a part of the world I've never been to. Once in a lifetime.”
Rongen, 54, was Chivas USA's initial coach, but he was fired 10 games into the 2005 season with a 1-8-1 record. He was head coach of the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996, the New England Revolution in 1997-98 and D.C. United in 1999-2001.
After leaving Chivas, Rongen served as U.S. under-20 national team coach for five years -- he was relieved of duties in May -- and he has been D.C. United's broadcast analyst for several years.
American Samoa, which is a U.S. territory, begins qualifying at a Nov. 22-26 tournament in Apia, Samoa, with only the winner of the four-team group (with Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga) moving on to Oceania's semifinal round.