JAMIE HILL - Thursday, May 5, 2011
One month after the United States' bitterly disappointing failure to qualify for the 2011 Under-20 World Cup, the United States Soccer Federation has made the decision to replace Thomas Rongen.
"US Soccer will not be renewing Thomas Rongen's contract when it expires at the end of the year," US Soccer media representative Neil Buethe told YA. "Tab Ramos will be leading the team during their trip to France. Tab was selected because he was an assistant with the team during the last cycle and is familiar with the players and the program."
US Soccer will continue the search for a permanent U-20 coach in the weeks and months ahead.
Rongen has a long history with US U-20 national team, having coached the team for nine of the last ten years. The Dutch manager took the reins in 2001 and has continued with the team ever since, with the exception of a brief stint at the helm of Chivas USA in 2005 a period in which Sigi Schmid led the team.
Rongen's reign with the US U-20 team has been marked with mixed results. The manager, a veteran of four MLS clubs, led the US U-20s to the World Cup quarterfinals on two occasions, in 2003 and in 2007.
He was also panned in many circles for not including Borussia Dortmund's Neven Subotic to the 2007 World Cup team, a decision many have felt have led to the highly-rated Chelsea defecting to Serbia's national squad.
The 2009 team was a disappointment after crashing out in group stage of the World Cup. However, the failure of the highly-rated 2011 squad to qualify out of CONCACAF may have been the death knell for Rongen.