While the tiny nation of American Samoa has been successful in producing great American Football players like Junior Seau and Troy Polamalu, the same cannot be said about their soccer team. In the 17 years that they have been affiliated with FIFA, the team has not won one single game.
The team's lowest moment came in 2001, when they suffered a 31-0 defeat against Australiaand made the history books for suffering the worst international defeat ever. However, despite these crushing defeats, the players kept persevering and, it has finally paid off.
On Tuesday, November 22nd the South Pacific island recorded its first 2-1 victory against Tonga in the preliminary round of the Oceania Cup Tournament, a pre-qualifier for the 2014 World Cup. To prove that this was not just a fluke win, two days later, they drew a 1-1 against Cook Islands.
Unfortunately, the winning trend came to an end on Saturday, when the team lost 1-0 against Samoa, thanks to a goal scored at the last minute by the opposing team. However, that loss did not damper the spirits of this resilient soccer team that had played well above their FIFA rankings.
The victories were especially sweet for goalkeeper Nicky Salapu who was also the goal keeper in the disaster match against Australia and, is the only surviving member from that team.
What is amazing is that this transformation is happening just a month after the team hired a new coach - Thomas Rungon, a former MLS coach who used to train the under 20's US team. We can only wonder how well the team will do the next time around - Get to the World Cup finals maybe?
Resources: telegraph.co.uk, guardian.co.uk