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Wednesday Kickoff: Rongen wins debut, USA stays put in rankings and more


Photo by Omar Martinez/

Bob Bradley isn't the only American making waves as coach of a non-U.S. national team.

Thomas Rongen won his debut as coach of American Samoa, which defeated Tonga, 2-1, in an Oceania World Cup qualifier for its first-ever victory. American Samoa had never led a match let alone win one and had been outscored 229-12 since 1994, according to the Associated Press. 

Rongen, who was axed as head coach of the U.S. Under-20 national team after failing to guide the side to the U-20 World Cup this past summer, was hired by American Samoa for the qualifying campaign. 

If Rongen can get American Samoa to outlast Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands during this stage, it will qualify for the second round of qualifying in July. 

Here are a few more stories to get your Wednesday going:


After a win and a loss in its pair of November friendlies, the U.S. men's national team didn't make any movement in the latest FIFA rankings, staying put at No. 34 in the world.

The top four teams in the world also remained unchanged, as Spain, Netherlands, Germany and Uruguay maintained their spots, respectively. England leapfrogged Brazil to take the No. 5 spot, while the Selecao, Portugal, Croatia, Italy and Argentina round out the top 10.

Mexico, which continues to be the highest-ranked CONCACAF nation, is up two spots to No. 20, while Bob Bradley's Egypt dropped a couple of spots to No. 31. 


Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was fined £12,000 for comments made about the officiating following a Premier League game against Queens Park Rangers in October.

Villas-Boas' remarks came following a 1-0 loss in which his side had two players sent off and QPR was granted a penalty. He was hit with a misconduct charge by the FA, and despite denying the charge, he was found guilty by the sport's ruling body.


Everton could receive a much-needed boost up front by potentially securing Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku on loan this winter.

The 18-year-old Lukaku has played sparingly for Chelsea since joining the club from Anderlecht, playing in five games in all competitions while fighting for playing time with the likes of Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Sturridge.


What do you make of Rongen's victory? What's your take on the latest FIFA rankings? Think the punishment fits the crime for Villas-Boas? Think Everton would benefit by adding Lukaku?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I can’t get enough of this OCF qualifying. I want nothing more than to see American Samoa push through to the 2nd round, but I also can’t imagine Rongen staying after/(if!) they’re knocked out (I think his contract with USSF runs out at the end of the year).

    Here are the match highlights:

    Well done lads, here’s one American rooting hard for American Samoa!

  2. Yeah he’s awful for bringing hundreds of foreign US-eligible prospects, some of whom will be on our Olympic team, to the attention of US Soccer…..

  3. Hey technically he still is coaching an American team, after all that is American territory maybe we can have all the mls greats like brad Davis, Danny cruz, mike magee play for them. And also we could send that math genius in this thread mr. Vic to be there accountant. I’m sure he had great experience at ENRON.

  4. Wonder what Rongen’s pay is at American Samoa. There’s 55k people in American Samoa. If each person contributes 1000 then his pay is 55k.

    I’m sure England fans will be happy knowing they’re ranked ahead of Brazil.

  5. That’s actually a real accomplishment by Rongen. American Samoa’s all-time WCQ record was 0-12, including an international-record 31-0 loss to Australia in 2001, five other games conceding 10+ goals, and just two goals scored. I see one previous victory all-time (against 38 losses), 5-4 against a French territory called Wallis and Futuna. Their last two WCQ matches against Tonga were 4-0 and 5-0 losses. Making it to the next stage would be like San Marino qualifying for the Euro finals.

  6. I lol’d at the Rongen story. Good for him and congrats to American Samoa for their first ever win. I hope they makes waves over there in Oceania. My only regret is that we didn’t retain him in some sort of dual citizen recruiting role. He had a few poor decisions in his tenure, but he also got us some solid prospects as well.


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