JAMIE HILL - Sunday, November 27, 2011
Former US U-20 and DC United manager Thomas Rongen recently made headlines for taking on the seemingly impossible task of managing American Samoa.

The Pacific minnows have amassed a hapless record even by the standards of small Pacific nations. American Samoa achieved infamy in April 2001 when they lost to Australia by the eye-opening scoreline of 31-0, the worst defeat in FIFA history.

Prior to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers this week, American Samoa had lost every international match in their history except for a victory against Wallis and Futuna, which was an unofficial match as the French dependency is not a member of FIFA.

Rongen was tasked with leading American Samoa in the first round of OFC qualifying, which consisted of the four lowest-ranked nations in the region, vying for one place at the eight-team OFC Championship in 2012.

Rongen got off to a shocking start when his team defeated Tonga 2-1, the first official non-loss in the country's history. American Samoa followed this with a draw against the Cook Islands, placing them in a tie for first place with neighbors Samoa.

American Samoa's Cinderella run came to an abrupt conclusion on Saturday when Rongen's men fell to Samoa 1-0, conceding a 90th minute winner. While the loss will come as a disappointment after qualification to the OFC Nations Cup came within the country's grasp, the week's results represent an accomplishment that far outstrips anything that American Samoa has ever achieved.
rob in oregon
Monday December 19, 2011 9:08 pm
Had Thomas Rongen as a youth coach in florida (in the 1980's)...happy to see he is still succeeding!
Hoppy in ATL
Monday November 28, 2011 3:41 am
Very interesting read.... Thanks...

Not sure what's the bigger story here... Rongen going from the coaching ranks of a CONCACAF powerhouse to one of the smallest programs in the Pacific, or the fact that American Samoa has had more success in their last few results than have previously enjoyed throughout their entire history...

Glad for Rongen and American Samoa.... I hope they continue their form.

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