IAMA novice soccer coach that led the 'worst team in the world' to their first ever international victory. AMA
I, Matt Conrad, and my mate Paul after a few beers had the crazy idea to ditch the drudgery of life and pursue our dream of playing international soccer. One problem: Who would take us? Neither of us were what you would call "talented."
A few more beers and some Googling later we found the island of Pohnpei, a tiny speck in the Pacific Ocean. Pohnpei had never won a game and were called "the worst team in the world." Perfect! - we thought. Let's grab a camera, pop over to the other side of the world, wow the locals with some kick-ups, play a game, win and become local legends forever!
After a 48 hour flight we touched down on an island unlike anything we had ever seen. It was beautiful, very weird and everyone was staring at us. We bee-lined to team practice anxious to meet our new team-mates. But lo and behold - there was no team at all!
From this moment our mission became clear: Help Pohnpei create something pure and noble to call their own - a team capable of competing and winning their first game. Away from the over-commercialized trappings and glitz of the modern game, we had the chance to do something truly grass roots. Our mission became an obsession.
But, building a team in the middle of nowhere in the stifling heat and driving rain with no funding is no easy feat. Especially on a waterlogged field inhabited by hundreds of toads and dogs. Recruiting players and bridging the enormous cultural gap to instill a professional discipline needed to compete at international level wasn't any easier. Our star player was run over and almost killed by a drunk driver, our funding repeatedly fell through, I got 3rd degree sun burns, Paul got boils - yes boils, ...and we didn't have a working toilet. Nevertheless, inspired by our players, many of whom walked miles to and from training in the pummeling rain, we flew them off the island (in many cases for their first time) to face island rivals and Pacific soccer powerhouses, Guam in Pohnpei's first competitive game in decades.
tl:dr With no money and experience I flew to a small Pacific Island and coached their soccer team to their first international victory.
EDIT: Media links BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8205348.stm LA TIMES: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/04/sports/sp-random4 The Sun: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2588433/Briton-appointed-coach-of-the-worlds-worst-football-team.html
EDIT: FRONT PAGE! Holy Soccer Balls. Thanks guys.