Longtime coach Thomas Rongen
will take charge of his sixth pro club in the United States, returning to Tampa Bay, where he coached in the Mutiny in MLS's first
season, to take over as head coach of the NASL Rowdies from Ricky Hill
The Dutchman, who moved to the United States in 1979 to play for the Los
Angeles Aztecs, was named the MLS Coach of the Year in 1996 after leading the Mutiny to the best record in the regular season. He later coached at New England, D.C. United, where he won the 1999 MLS
title, and Chivas USA. He also coached the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in the APSL for six seasons and most recently was academy director at Toronto FC.
He also coached the USA at the
Under-20 World Cup four teams, leaving his position as U-20 head coach after the team failed to qualify in 2011. Later that year, he coaches American Samoa in World Cup qualifying. His time in
American Samoa was the subject of the highly acclaimed documentary Next Goal Wins
Rongen is reunited with recently hired Rowdies president and
general manager Farrukh Quraishi
, who was president and GM of the Mutiny in 1996.
“Thomas brings deep level experience to the Rowdies and a level of professionalism
that will be appreciated by anyone connected to our organization,” said Quraishi. “He is in demand and has been courted by other clubs so this is a significant ‘get’ for us. I
am confident and excited to have him with us.”