MLS- Philadelphia Union

Nowak confirms Califf trade to Chivas

DanCaliff2012 (ISIPhotos)

Speculation started rising over the weekend that the Philadelphia Union were dealing captain Danny Califf to Chivas USA. On Wednesday, Union manager Peter Nowak put an end to all of the speculation. He confirmed that the trade is indeed happening, pending league approval. 

"The most important thing for Danny is that he is going home," Nowak said during his Wednesday press conference of Califf, a California native. "We did not try to shop Danny. This came as a surprise after the Schalke match."

Without divulging too much until the league approves the trade and all of the necessary paperwork is completed, Nowak said that the Union will be receiving a "player plus something else" in exchange for Califf.

Sheanon Williams will slide into Califf's centerback role, where he has been playing while Califf has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. Nowak said that Williams, Carlos Valdes and Brian Carroll will be in the mix to assume Califf's captain's armband after the trade is completed.

Nowak also added that the emergence of rookie fullback Ray Gaddis has helped offer more flexibility and versatility to the back line.

"The arrival of Ray Gaddis gives us the flexibilty to play the line higher," Nowak said. "The trade is going to give us another option as well."

Califf has played in four games this season for the Union, but he was held out of Philadelphia's 3-2 home loss to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, not even making the bench as a reserve. He was listed as "probable" with a hamstring strain leading into the match, and he is not included on the club's latest injury report.

"It's not that we kept him out just to conclude this trade," Nowak said.

With the pending departure of Califf, Philadelphia will have lost three core members of the nucleus from last year's playoff team, with Faryd Mondragon returning to Colombia and Sebastien Le Toux being traded to Vancouver.

"This is the worst thing of the job, that sometimes you have to make those kinds of trades," Nowak said. "You have to believe in what you're doing, and we do."


What do you think of this development? Think Philadelphia is making a mistake by trading away Califf? Witholding judgment until its clear what the Union are receiving in return?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Mike

    Lost the Dragon, gave away Le Toux, giving away Califf, not utilizing Adu, buying random players who aren’t good and obsessing over them, buying possession players but playing long ball…

    At least Toronto has a solid vision and have been dealt some serious injury blows and bad luck. Philly is just a horribly managed club. I feel for Union fans.


  • Dan

    Completely agree. Nowak got rid of the two most popular Union players, who are also the two hardest working players, and he gives Adu, easily the most gifted player on that team after Torres, grudging minutes on the field. No one should be surprised by this team’s crummy record. Philly has no vision, just Nowak’s oversized ego.


  • Air Jordanz

    Looked like Philly was utilizing Adu just fine last game. Sucks he will miss the next one.


  • Murphy

    There has to be more to this story, just like the Le Toux trade. Hopefully Califf will explain. Nowak always seems to alienate players…


  • Mike

    A first in a long time. There was actually period earlier this year where he had Adu coming off the bench.


  • D

    Gaddis is money, and minus a couple errors, this fluid backline is looking better each weak. It’s sad to see him leave, but the Union have been playing better each week with or without him. He was the captain of the original Union, and as recent as that was, and as sad as it may be, that team is long gone. I’ll reserve full judgement until the end of the season.


  • BSU SC

    There is definitely more to this story than meets the eye. First Califf was reportedly hurt, but he wasn’t really hurt. Now he’s homesick? This is a guy who was playing in Scandinavia a few years ago, I really doubt living in Philadelphia is making him homesick.

    I know the LA Gals would have loved to get their hands on Califf, but that ship has sailed.


  • MMV

    Where does Califf fit in with Chivas? McKenzie has been a solid, surprise at CB and his job should be safe and secure. Pearce has moved into the a CB role and has played admirably. Does this mean he slides back over to his natural position of LB?


  • Scott

    I wish the Union could trade away Nowak for allocation money….. or actually I wish the Union could offer allocation money to any team that would take Nowak off our hands!


  • James

    Yeah lost in all of this is that the Union have been getting increasingly better each week losing 3 straight 1 goal games to 3 of the top 4 in the SBI rankings (not my personal rankings of course). Although from a PR standpoint, this doesn’t look good at all that your captain gets traded especially after Le Toux’s departure. But Gaddis looks to have tons of potential and I have a lot of confidence in Williams can fill the role. I am very curious to see what this “player plus something else” means.


  • DavidKamerun

    Lost in all of what? That a strong playoff side was dismantled to build up a bottom-feeder? You mean that?


  • NowakOut

    Danny didn’t ask to be traded. Love the spin the FO puts on these situations. Makes me second guess Mondragon wanting to see his career out in Colombia …


  • Mike

    Yeah, you like how they try to peg it all on him? Like he blindsided them and they had no idea… despite him being inexplicably held out for some mysterious injury that apparently didn’t exist.


  • Gnarls

    “I know the LA Gals would have loved to get their hands on Califf, but that ship has sailed.”

    True statement. Chivas have a better back line than LA already. Califf would have been a welcome addition for the Gs, but I’m sure there’s no room under the cap limit.


  • Gnarls

    Cristman, yes, but Barrett stays. Buddle makes both guys look like Messi right now.


  • C G

    Wow Nowak seems even more clueless then earlier this year. Just give away this season for you ego.


  • Dos

    Don’t get it . . . veteran players in leadership positions don’t seem to have a very long shelf life on Planet Nowak


  • al17

    What in the HELL is going on in Philly?

    I’m serious. It’s mind boggling.

    Le Toux was just flat out dumb and this is…ok flat out dumb or am I missing the entire plot.

    If so, what is the plot?


  • Brian

    I think Nowak is crazy. He has became one of the worst managers in MLS. Dude is all about the mind games.


  • pd

    Am I paranoid or can we assume that:

    1. They did in fact shop him.
    2. They did in fact keep him on the outside of it.
    3. This wasn’t tough for him at all.

    Simply because Nowak out and out denied those things specifically?


  • pd

    first I don’t buy the getting stronger each week bit. Adu and the boys were looking good in spots this past week, but it has been a prett bleak season so far. Regardless, the way one handles personnel and the way week to week results pan out are not really correlates. Bottom line is this has been a very messy and seemingly duplicitous period in Philly regarding the way they are treating older key players. It’s making them look very d*ckish. I’d be saying the same thing if they were undefeated.


  • RLW2020

    im sure LA and Chivas will figure out how to make that trade soon enough


  • NaranjaFanatic

    My disgust over Nowak makes me smirk when these things happen but I seriously feel for the Philly fans. What a bunch of crap. Your three best players from a very good side last year just given away. Fire Nowak and bring Preki back into MLS.


  • Johnny Ramone

    Nowak is a horrible coach & a terrible evaluator of talent. It’s amazing he finds work…anywhere. He’s such a mess that even Toronto wouldn’t want him. Philly is a disaster. It’s a miracle that they’ve even managed two wins.


  • gfarion@farionodz.com

    Despite playing in a very physical and athletic league where most teams have two large center backs and at east one power forward, Novak insists on playing with a team of smerfs. Shannon Williams to center back? Come on. He is 5’10”. So is Valdez. No wonder the Union can’t defend set pieces and can’t score off of dead ball situations. What is more concerning is the housecleaning that the Union made of the more expensive players (Le Toux, Mapp, Mondragon and Califf). It looks like management want’s to turn a quick profit and is masking matters by signing cheap South American replacements. As a Union fan I am very afraid that this team may fold within a season or two.


  • Matt

    Not to be a contrarian, but I think Nowak deserves time. He has won MLS Cup before. He’s been mentioned as a future USMNT coach even. He is not some guy who doesn’t understand MLS. Maybe he’s a little strange sometimes (“go back to hospital”…?), but I think Philly fans just need to give him some time. Nowak could still pull this off and have a great, young, hungry team in another year or two.

    In SJ people have been wanting the head of another MLS Cup-winning coach for a few years, but now, in year five, the team seems to really be working and had the best start to a season in the EQ’s history. Sometimes it takes a while to get the right personnel in place and the Union are still only a few years out from being an expansion team created from scratch.


  • yee

    People are jumping on Nowak WAYYYYY too quick. He is building a young team for the future(which should be pretty obvious to all). Califf and Le Toux were good, but by no means players you build an MLS team around for years to come. They are the youngest team in the MLS. Freddy just played as well as I have ever seen him play. Have a little faith, instead of blowing your little “fire nowak” trumpets as loud as you can


  • Andy

    What is this organization doing? They had so much promise pre-Le Toux and misuse of Adu. Freddy for one should be lighting up the MLS, but he needs to be on a good team. Just saying… Houston desperately needs a CAM.


  • b

    This may seem like a bizarre opinion, but I have no problem with any of the three controversial moves (letting Mondragon go and replacing him with MacMath, trading away Le Toux, trading away Califf), yet I STILL think Nowak is a terrible coach and should be fired. It’s all about ego and mind games with him, he makes bizarre coaching decisions (eg his random substitutions), and has his team playing a style that is not only awful to watch, but doesn’t even fit their personnel, which seems suited to a possession game with the ball on the ground.

    Califf just isn’t that good at this point. Mondragon was decent but a bit overrated and MacMath is the real deal once he gets some significant minutes.
    They wouldn’t be missing Le Toux at all if Nowak had managed to develop Mwanga and/or McInerney into useful MLS quality forwards. Instead, 100 combined games into their careers it’s hard to see signs of significant improvement. Okugo (same draft) hasn’t done much either. Those are draft picks #1, #7, and #6, for an expansion franchise, not really contributing much. They’re all still young, you might counter. Well maybe they shouldn’t have spent all three picks on such young players.


  • shchors

    Grooming young team? That’s what the Union want’s you to believe. That way, they are saving money by not signing more establshed and proven players. Mwanga can’t handle the physicality, can’t hold up the ball and will never be able to play with his back to the goal. McInerney husteles but is way too small to be a regular starter and lacks a striker’s touch. Mwanga and McInereny have regressed in the 2.5 seasons with the Union. Adu needs an array of great players around him to add something special. Even Farfan will never be anything but a useful role player, instead of the #10 the Union projects him to be. By the way, of the four players mentioned, three are smerfs (small) and Mwanga is frail.


  • Catamount

    “Adu needs an array of great players around him to add something special.”

    He’s in the wrong league if that is the case. Adu has and has always had a problem with hard work in training and games. I watched him has a youngster and he comes to life when he can do something he does well. He never showed any interest in all the little things that make great professional players.

    Reading the comments of Bruce Arena recently about the Galaxy this year, I think an argument can be made that Nowak’s approach that may work in the end. The MLS isn’t set up for a team to enjoy sustained success. As soon as the players get good they become too expensive to keep. Mondragon, Le Toux, Califf are probably not worth the sacrifice of 4-6 younger players that can become very good quite soon, and they won’t be around when the team matures enough to make a run for the cup.

    If anything Nowak may be admitting that starting the club with expensive veteran players wasn’t a good approach and he’s taking a mulligan.


  • Ski Fast!

    It’s getting a little bizzare. Nowak seems to have strange falling-outs with players before he suddenly trades them away. Both Califf and Le Toux had complaints about how the manager treated them in the finals days before they got traded.


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