An Interview With Thomas Rongen and the Directors of Next Goal Wins

Thomas Rongen was the coach who brought American Samoa to their first-ever World Cup Qualifying win, and his feat is documented in the film Next Goal Wins. Seth Macomber spoke with Rongen and the movie's directors, Mike Brett and Steven Jamison.

After their 31-0 drubbing by Australia in 2001, America Samoa was labeled as the worst team in the world. Ten years later, the team tried to erase those memories as they prepared for their World Cup qualifying matches.

Directors Mike Brett and Steven Jamison were there to document America Samoa’s quest in a movie called Next Goal Wins. The duo spent 14 weeks on the island, immersing themselves in the culture and experiencing the soccer. The record they produced is nothing short of inspiring.

The squad that topped Tonga 2-1 for America Samoa’s first ever win in World Cup qualifying features unique personalities like Jaiyah Saelua, a transgender player, and Nicky Salapu, the goalkeeper in the infamous loss. The team is guided by former MLS and US under-20 coach Thomas Rongen, who was the loan applicant for America Samoa’s call for help.

Seth Macomber talked to the directors and Rongen about the movie and soccer life on America Samoa on a special edition of the Olimpico. The interview includes discussions on scenes that were cut from the film, strategies that America Samoa can use to improve in the FIFA rankings and unique nicknames received by the crew.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Bent Musket

You must be a member of The Bent Musket to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Bent Musket. You should read them.

Join The Bent Musket

You must be a member of The Bent Musket to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Bent Musket. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker