06 May, 2011

Bye Bye Rongen

In one of the least anticipated, and under reported stories to come out of USSoccer yesterday was the firing, um, sorry, "not rehiring" of U20 USMNT coach Thomas Rongen.
After failing to qualify for the U20 WC in a semifinal upset, Rongen has been relieved of duties until his contract ends December 31, 2011. Until that time, he will "have another role with USSoccer."

What exactly that role is, who knows. Taking his place is Tab Ramos. Many of you remember the phenomenal play of Ramos during the 90s. What you don't know is his coaching experience. He really doesn't have any other than running the Tab Ramos Soccer Academy for the past 15 years.

So what exactly qualifies him to coach the U20s? 81 caps for the USMNT, stints with Spanish clubs Figueres and Real Betis, and some time in MLS with the Metro Stars (pre- Red Bulls kiddies). None of this was as a player.

What it does fit into is the further establishment of former USMNT players in the USSF hierarchy. Ramos is now coaching the U20s, Reyna is the US Technical Director, McBride is a shooting coach of sorts, etc etc... None have prior coaching experience, so whether this bodes well for the future of US Soccer is up in the air.

Perhaps the biggest difference is that, hopefully, Ramos has an eye for development of talent and not one of scaring off talent (ie- Subotic and Rossi, although Rossi had Italy in his sights long ago, and others). That said, Rongen was in charge when some highlights happened such as Bobby Wood, Conor Doyle, Aguedelo, and Ruelas.

What will become of the team, and what can we expect? Ramos was a no nonsense player who despite his diminutive size, could dish it out and did a good job stepping up to the competition. Can we expect the same as coach, yes, but the lingering question is can he do it, or are we going to be subjected to more of the USSF insistence of US players and US coaches at the expense of other good coaches, with more experience, yet are foreign born?

Photo: yanksarecoming

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