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Rowdies hire former MLS Coach of the Year to replace Ricky Hill

Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rowdies have hired a replacement for former coach Ricky Hill, who had led the club since 2011. The club announced on Tuesday that Thomas Rongen would take over the club for the 2015 season, making him the third head coach in modern Rowdies history.

Rongen has some history with the NASL, having played in the league for several seasons before it ceased operations in the 1980s. He spent time with the LA Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and Minnesota Strikers from 1979-1984, and then remained in the United States before his playing days ended in 1993.

Rongen began coaching at the high school level as early as 1984, when he was still in the prime years of his playing career. He was named MLS Coach of the Year in 1996 with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, and had stops at New England, D.C. United, Chivas USA, and with the United States U20 national team. Most recently, Rongen has served as the academy director for Toronto FC.