Former USMNT captain Thomas Dooley takes Philippines nat'l team job, eyes Asian Cup

Thomas Dooley

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Roughly a week after he was reportedly offered the job to become the head coach of the Philippines national team, Thomas Dooley is ready for his first challenge.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta officially announced Friday that the 52-year-old former US international has become the national team’s newest head coach, and that the Asia Challenge Cup in May in the Maldives is now the team’s first priority.

Dooley said the first objective for the team was to win the Challenge Cup and qualify for the Asian Cup, according to The Associated Press.

“Forget about the World Cup,” Dooley said. “We need to play the World Cup ... but we are so far away from that that if they don’t win the Challenge Cup we can’t play in the next 25 years for that. But if we can win the Challenge Cup, we have another goal then.”

Other prominent American coaches who have led international clubs include Bob Bradley (Egypt, 2011-13) and Steve Sampson (Costa Rica, 2002-04), while former US U-20 coach Thomas Rongen, who has spent most of his professional career in the US, led American Samoa to the first win in the team’s history during a brief coaching spell in 2011.

Jack Stefanowski (Nepal) and Ian Mork (Belize) are the only other American coaches currently in charge of national teams.

Born in Germany and a Bundesliga veteran for more than a decade, Dooley joined the US national team in 1992 and went on to play in two World Cups. He served as the captain of the team’s ill-fated bid in France in 1998 and appeared in 81 games for the US before retiring from international play in 1999.

Dooley also played for both the Columbus Crew and the MetroStars, and was named to the MLS Best XI in 1997 and 1998.

“I love to play soccer, so that’s what I want to do — I want to play soccer,” Dooley said. “That means not just kicking the ball. I want to get everybody involved in playing.”