Most soccer fans may know Thomas Rongen for his commentary on CBS Sports Golazo or beINSports. After all, the former coach usually hits the small screen full of personality with his unique suits and bow ties. However, many may not know the full story of Rongen’s life before going into broadcasting.

The Dutch-American played the vast majority of his soccer career here in the United States. After moving Stateside in 1979, Rongen played with various clubs up until his last stint with the American Soccer League’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Following his playing career, Rongen then went into coaching.

Rongen hired as American Samoa manager in 2011

After working his way up through the ranks, he managed several Major League Soccer teams throughout the mid-to-late 1990s. Rongen then transitioned to working with the U20 United States team in 2001. After being let go by U.S. Soccer in 2011, the coach accepted a senior national team job. However, the position was with American Samoa, one of the worst national teams in the world.

The upcoming movie Next Goal Wins tells the story of Rongen’s time with American Samoa. Rongen was tasked with lifting the team out from the bottom of the FIFA rankings. A decade prior to the coach’s arrival to the nation, American Samoa suffered the worst defeat in international soccer history. Australia beat the team 31-0 in April of 2001. Striker Archie Thompson scored 13 goals by himself in the match.

To put the team’s struggles into perspective, Ramin Ott is currently American Samoa’s top goal-scorer with three goals. Nevertheless, under Rongen’s guidance, American Samoa actually recorded its second-ever FIFA-recognized victory. They managed to beat Tonga 2-1 in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match.

Next Goal Wins included in Rolling Stone’s 2023 movie list

Next Goal Wins, which is set to be released on November 17th, was included in a list of the most anticipated movies of 2023 by Rolling Stone. The film features some prominent actors as well. Michael Fassbender, formerly in Inglorious Bastards and Steve Jobs, plays Rongen in the movie. Elizabeth Moss and Will Arnett also star. The film is directed by Taika Waititi, who previously wrote and directed Thor: Love and Thunder.