Photo by Omar Martinez/ISIphotos.com
For Thomas Rongen, the failure to guide the United States Under-20 national team to World Cup qualification has cost him his job as head coach.
Rongen has been relieved of his head coaching duties for the U-20s, sources told SBI on Thursday. The U.S. Soccer Federation confirmed that while he is no longer coach of the team, Rongen is still under contract with U.S. Soccer and could still work with the federation in another capacity.
Rongen, who has drawn praise for his ability to locate and attract multi-national players with American eligibility, is ultimately the fall guy for the U-20s' inability to get through CONCACAF qualifying. The team lost to qualifying host Guatemala, 2-1, in last month's do-or-die regional quarterfinal with a group deemed by many to be the deepest, most talented U-20 team the country has ever had. The United States had qualified for the last seven U-20 World Cups and last missed out on the international event in 1995.
Rongen had been at the helm of the U-20s since 2001. Tab Ramos will guide the team on its upcoming trip to France, but he has not been named an interim coach. The USSF will conduct a search for Rongen's replacement.
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