Thomas Rongen

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Thomas Rongen
Thomas Rongen photo by Djuradj Vujcic.jpg
Rongen in 2012
Personal information
Full nameThomas Rongen
Date of birth (1956-10-31) 31 October 1956 (age 62)
Place of birth Amsterdam, Netherlands
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Midfielder, Forward
Youth career
1971–1975 AFC
Senior career*
1973–1979 AFC
1979–1980 Los Angeles Aztecs 40 (6)
1979–1980 Los Angeles Aztecs (indoor) 12 (3)
1980 Washington Diplomats 10 (0)
1981–1983 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 83 (4)
1984 Minnesota Strikers 5 (0)
1984–1985 Minnesota Strikers (indoor) 18 (0)
1985 South Florida Sun
1985–1986 Chicago Sting (indoor) 14 (1)
1987 Houston Dynamos
1988–1993 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Teams managed
1984–1988 Pope John Paul II High School
1987–1990 Nova Southeastern University (assistant)
1988 Fort Lauderdale Strikers (assistant)
1988 South Plantation High School
1989–1994 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
1991–1995 Nova Southeastern University
1996 Tampa Bay Mutiny
1997–1998 New England Revolution
1999–2001 D.C. United
2001–2005 United States U20
2005 Chivas USA
2006–2011 United States U20
2011 American Samoa
2012–2014 Toronto FC (academy director)
2014–2015 Tampa Bay Rowdies
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Thomas Rongen (born 31 October 1956) is a Dutch-American football coach who has spent the majority of his playing and coaching career in the United States. [1] In December 2016, he was named Chief Scout of the United States Men's National Team. Rongen won the MLS Coach of the Year award in MLS's inaugural season in 1996, leading the Tampa Bay Mutiny to the best regular-season record.

Dutch people or the Dutch are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Aruba, Suriname, Guyana, Curaçao, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States. The Low Countries were situated around the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, forming a part of their respective peripheries, and the various territories of which they consisted had become virtually autonomous by the 13th century. Under the Habsburgs, the Netherlands were organised into a single administrative unit, and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Northern Netherlands gained independence from Spain as the Dutch Republic. The high degree of urbanization characteristic of Dutch society was attained at a relatively early date. During the Republic the first series of large-scale Dutch migrations outside of Europe took place.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.



Rongen began his playing career with Amsterdamsche FC, with whom he played as defensive midfielder and defender from 1973 to 1979. [2] [3]

Amsterdamsche FC

Amsterdamsche Football Club, known as AFC is a football club from Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is currently playing in the Tweede Divisie, the third tier of football in the Netherlands.

In 1979, Rongen moved to the United States, joining the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League. [4] Rongen spent the entire 1979 season with the Aztecs. He then began the 1980 season in Los Angeles. On 12 July 1980, the Aztecs sold his contract to the Washington Diplomats. [5] The team folded at the end of the season and Rongen moved to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers where he would remain for the next three seasons. In 1984, Joe Robbie, owner of the Strikers, moved the team to Minneapolis, Minnesota where it was renamed the Minnesota Strikers. Rongen moved with the team and spent the 1984 outdoor season there. [6] The league collapsed at the end of the season.

Los Angeles Aztecs soccer team in the United States

The Los Angeles Aztecs were a soccer team that competed in the North American Soccer League from 1974 to 1981. The team was based in Los Angeles, California, and part-owned by Elton John.

Washington Diplomats association football club in the United States

The Washington Diplomats were an American soccer club based in Washington, D.C.. Throughout their existence, the club played their home games at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and indoor home matches at the neighboring D.C. Armory. Founded as an expansion franchise in 1974, the Diplomats competed in the now-defunct North American Soccer League, then the top-tier soccer league of the American soccer pyramid.

Joe Robbie NFL Team Owner

Joseph Robbie was an American attorney, politician, and the principal founder of the Miami Dolphins.

The Strikers moved to the Major Indoor Soccer League for the 1984–1985 season. On 22 May 1985, Rongen joined the South Florida Sun of the United Soccer League. [7] The league lasted six games, then collapsed. [8] In October 1985, Rongen signed as a free agent with the Chicago Sting of MISL. At the end of the season, he moved to Florida to coach youth and high school soccer. In 1987, he played for the Houston Dynamos of the Lone Star Soccer Alliance. On 8 January 1988, he became the first player to sign with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the newly established American Soccer League. [9] He continued to play for the Strikers until 1993.

United Soccer League (1984–85) American soccer league (1984–1985)

The United Soccer League was a professional soccer league in the United States in the mid-1980s.

Chicago Sting former American professional football team based in Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Sting (1974–1988) was an American professional soccer team based in Chicago. The Sting played in the North American Soccer League from 1975 to 1984 and in the Major Indoor Soccer League in the 1982–83 season and again from 1984 to 1988. They were North American Champions in 1981 and 1984, one of only two NASL teams to win the championship twice.

Houston Dynamos was a U.S. soccer team that existed in various forms from 1983 to 1991. In 1991, the team’s owners changed the name to Houston International, but the team lasted only through the 1992 season before folding. The Dynamos were founded by Pete Kane and John M Gaughan. The Dynamos were founded with the intention of a continued building of the sport of soccer in Houston Texas. The Dynamos were the first team to give contracts to its players based on an entire year not on a season. The Houston Dynamos players year round went to parks, schools and events promoting the sport of soccer. In 1985 the Dynamos brought Pele to Houston creating great interest in the sport and spreading goodwill.


Rongen began his coaching career as an assistant with the Pope John Paul II High School boys' team in 1984. On 27 June 1986, he was named as head coach. [10] During his tenure coaching PJPII, he took the team to a 32–6–5 record and he was a two time Sun-Sentinel Coach of the Year. He resigned from his position on 16 May 1988. [11] He also coached with the Plantation Eagles Soccer Club. [12] This led to his selection as coach of the Florida U-23 soccer team which defeated the United States men's national soccer team with goals from Zen Luzniak and Henry Gutierrez in a 8 March 1987 scrimmage. [13] Rongen also served as an assistant with the Nova Southeastern University men's soccer team. [14] In August 1988, he was hired to coach the South Plantation High School boys' team. [15]

United States mens national soccer team Mens national association football team representing the USA

The United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) is controlled by the United States Soccer Federation and competes in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. The team has appeared in ten FIFA World Cups, including the first in 1930, where they reached the semi-finals. The U.S. participated in the 1934 and 1950 World Cups, winning 1–0 against England in the latter. After 1950, the U.S. did not qualify for the World Cup until 1990. The U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup, where they lost to Brazil in the round of sixteen. They qualified for five more consecutive World Cups after 1994, becoming one of the tournament's regular competitors and often advancing to the knockout stage. The U.S. reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, where they lost to Germany. In the 2009 Confederations Cup, they eliminated top-ranked Spain in the semi-finals before losing to Brazil in the final, their only appearance in the final of a major intercontinental tournament. The team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, having been eliminated in continental qualifying, ending the streak of consecutive World Cups at seven. United States will co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup along with Canada and Mexico. The automatic qualification of all three teams as co-hosts is likely.

Zenon "Zen" Luzniak is a U.S. soccer defender who spent three seasons in the American Professional Soccer League and two in the USISL. He also earned one cap with the U.S. national team.

Hendrig "Henry" Gutierrez is a retired American soccer player who began his career in the lower French divisions before finishing it in the United States. He was a member of the U.S. teams at the 1985 FIFA U-16 World Championship and the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. He earned one cap with the United States men's national soccer team.

On 8 February 2004 he replaced Wim Suurbier as head coach of the Strikers. [16] He took the Strikers to the 1989 ASL title and then skippered the team to a victory over the San Diego Nomads in the national championship game. [17] He was the 1990 APSL Coach of the Year. [18] In August 1994, he resigned as head coach. [19] In November 1990, he replaced Hal Henderson as head coach of Nova Southeastern University. [20] He coached the team for five seasons, compiling a 50–35–8 record.

Wim Suurbier Dutch footballer

Wilhelmus "Wim" Lourens Johannes Suurbier is a former Dutch football player and among others assistant coach of the Albanian national team.

The 1989 American Soccer League was the second season of the third American Soccer League.

The San Diego Nomads is a U.S. soccer team in San Diego, California.

Major League Soccer

Rongen was one of the inaugural coaches in MLS, coaching the Tampa Bay Mutiny in their first season in 1996, with whom he won the MLS regular season, and also won MLS Coach of the Year Award. After a year with the Mutiny, Rongen moved to the New England Revolution, which he would coach in 1997 and 1998. After the Revolution, Rongen succeeded Bruce Arena as the head coach of D.C. United, which he would lead to an MLS Cup in 1999. However, Rongen lost his job with United in 2001, and was replaced with Ray Hudson.

National teams

Upon leaving United, Rongen was appointed head coach of the United States U-20 men's national soccer team, which he coached from 2001 to his appointment as head coach of Chivas USA for the team's inaugural season in 2005. However, ten games into the season, with the team's record standing at one win, one tie, and eight losses, he was let go of his head coaching duties.

Rongen was appointed head coach of the Under-20 United States men's national team again in 2006 and led the team to the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He was fired from that position in May 2011 after a series of major gaffes, the most striking being in 2007 when Rongen lost the U.S. national team a future star defender Neven Subotić, a Serbian-American who has since won the Bundesliga and reached the Champions League final, by publicly criticizing him and subsequently leaving Subotić off the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster.

In 2011, Rongen became the head coach of American Samoa. With Rongen at the helm, American Samoa registered its first ever victory on 22 November 2011, against Tonga, in the 2014 World Cup qualification. Under Rongen, American Samoa reached 173rd in the world, its highest ever ranking. His work with the American Samoa team is at the center of the 2014 British documentary, Next Goal Wins . [21]


Rongen became director of TFC Academy prior to the 2012 season, joining countrymen Aron Winter and Bob de Klerk at Toronto FC. [22]

He was named head coach of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in December 2014. [23] Rongen was fired along with General Manager/President, Farrukh Quraishi on 21 August 2015. [24]

In late 2016, Rongen was hired by Bruce Arena as the head international scout for the United States national team program.

Personal life

Rongen married Gail Megaloudis in 1996. He is stepfather to Gail's children with Nicky Megaloudis, Nicole and Chris. In 2004, Nicole died in a single car accident on I-64 West in Goochland County, Virginia, aged 19. Rongen wore his stepdaughter's baseball cap during American Samoa's win over Tonga, as shown in Next Goal Wins.

See also

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  1. Vujcic, Djuradj (30 May 2012). "Inside the MLS: Thomas Rongen" . Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  2. "Ledenlist". Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  3. "AFC'er Thomas Rongen naar Amerikaans-Samoa". Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  4. "Rongen naar Aztecs". De Telegraaf . Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  5. Dips Buy Aztecs' Rongen Washington Post, The (DC) – Saturday, 12 July 1980
  6. "The Year in American Soccer - 1984". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  7. EX-STRIKER RONGEN SIGNS WITH SUN Miami Herald, The (FL) – Thursday, 23 May 1985
  8. "The Year in American Soccer - 1985". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  9. STRIKERS GET UNIFORMS, SCHEDULE—AND A PLAYER Sun-Sentinel – Wednesday, 20 January 1988
  11. RONGEN STEPS DOWN AS PJP II SOCCER COACH Sun-Sentinel – Tuesday, 17 May 1988
  12. FORMER STRIKER FINDS CALLING COACHING YOUTH Sun-Sentinel – Sunday, 7 December 1986
  13. FLORIDA UNDER-23 SURPRISES U.S. NATIONALS Sun-Sentinel – Monday, 9 March 1987
  14. SOCCER COACH QUITS AT NOVA Miami Herald, The (FL) – Tuesday, 1 March 1988
  16. STRIKERS PICK RONGEN AS COACH Miami Herald, The (FL) – Wednesday, 8 February 1989
  17. "The Year in American Soccer - 1989". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  18. "The Year in American Soccer, 1990". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  19. STRIKERS COACH QUITS BECAUSE OF BURNOUT Miami Herald, The (FL) – Wednesday, 17 August 1994
  20. RONGEN TO BE NOVA 'S COACH Sun-Sentinel – Saturday, 3 November 1990
  21. Kev Geoghegan (6 May 2014). "Next Goal Wins for 'world's worst football team'". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  22. "Toronto FC hires former U.S. U-20 coach". CBC News. 6 January 2012.
  23. "Tampa Bay Rowdies". Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  24. "Tampa Bay Rowdies fire president/GM Farrukh Quraishi and head coach Thomas Rongen after team's 'disappointing' performance - Tampa Bay Business Journal". Retrieved 28 June 2016.