MLS- Philadelphia Union

Nowak out as Union coach

Nowak (Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Union's tumultuous season has reached its breaking point.

Peter Nowak is out as the Union's coach and vice president of soccer operations, club CEO Nick Sakiewicz announced at a press conference at PPL Park on Wednesday afternoon. The dismissal, which was first reported by the Philadelphia Daily News, has made way for assistant John Hackworth to take over both of Nowak's roles in the interim for a club that has failed to meet lofty expectations in the opening portion of its third year of existence.

"Peter is an incredible coach," Sakiewicz said. "But over a period of time we determined that we were no longer on the same page between ownership and Peter's philosophy of managing the team."

Nowak's future with the club came under the spotlight in recent days, with reports out of Scotland stating that Nowak applied for the opening with Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian — reports that Nowak vehemently denied to the Daily News.

Nowak was also under plenty of heat for personnel decisions that have not panned out, with the 2011 playoff team off to a 2-7-2 start in 2012, including becoming then-winless Toronto FC's first victim this season. Trades of Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Califf have not gone over well with the Union's rapidly souring fanbase, and the club's young, complementary pieces have yet to put it all together to achieve consistent results. 

Nowak, the only manager in the Union's young history, becomes the second MLS coach to lose his job in the last week after Aron Winter was ushered out of Toronto FC in favor of Paul Mariner. Nowak was supposed to coach the MLS All-Stars against Chelsea next month, but those plans will have to be altered.

Nelson Rodriguez, MLS executive vice president of competition and game operations, issued a statement regarding the All-Star Game, saying, "As we only just became aware of the Philadelphia Union coaching change, we will take the appropriate time to consider who should lead the MLS All-Stars against UEFA Champions Chelsea FC on July 25 at PPL Park.”


What do you think of this development? Are you surprised? Did you think it was inevitable? 

Share your thoughts below.

  • michael vann

    Roman Romanov, the owner of Hearts, is a ruthless SOB and the crap Nowak pulled in Philly wouldn’t fly In Edinbrough. Romanov has no problem sacking a manager and quite frankly may like it a little too much. If Nowak were to land in Scotland he’d have a rude awakening with Romanov. Their egos would be a HUGE clash.


  • JoeW

    First, Nowak has always been a “my way or the highway” kind of guy. He has a clear picture in his mind of how he wants players to play and what system, and you do it or you’re gone.

    Second, yep, Nowak really mishandled things this year. That said, I felt they really overachieved last year. Philly fans who think that their team was an outstanding one…yeah, some nice pieces but a lot of good team play and hard work. When key pieces left, the hard work wasn’t enough to get it done.

    Third, I do have to wonder what this means for Adu. Although he didn’t play consistently with Philly, Adu would not have gone there unless Nowak was eager to have him. As talented as Adu is, he clearly has trouble playing well enough to start regularly for a team in MLS (even a bottom half of the table team).


  • Skifast

    He’s been booed by the fans everytime his name was announced for the past several home games


  • Snyder

    I think Nowak went the Preki route and just lost it.

    Now we’ve had the final chapter. Neither are employable in MLS ever again.

    Perfectionists, angry on the sidelines, emotionalism that clouds their judgment.

    Preki had success as a coach in MLS, too, but he snapped under the pressure and the total belief in his own ego, and so did Nowak.


  • jpat2411

    Remember, key pieces did not leave, but were shipped away unceremoneously. None of those who left wanted to leave (except Ruiz?)
    I also belive there are serious money problems at the club, every move has been a salary dump, with nothing in return.


  • Jim

    The Front Office is getting too much of a pass on this one. I am happy to see Nowak go, but it certainly seemed like Nick S. was too happy to throw Piotr under the bus this afternoon. I don’t care how much control Piotr has, you don’t trade away the face of your young franchise in Le Toux without getting the OK from ownership.


  • Judging Amy

    That’s a good comparison. Really liked the way Preki first set up his early Chivas USA then he just went nuts.


  • Ivan

    Relegate them to NASL, with Toronto.
    God, football here desperately needs promotion/relegation to reward merit and punish mediocrity!!!


  • Stracho

    Couldn’t disagree more. Nothing wrong with pulling in Colombian talent and players from elsewhere in South American/Central America.


  • Esteban de la Sexface

    Put both Adu and Nowak in a cannon and shoot them somewhere far, far away.


  • Esteban de la Sexface

    Great news. Personnel moves aside, the team looked absolutely clueless and have been completely unentertaining this year. Angering the fans, playing poorly and being boring – those are the main ingredients to getting canned.


  • gbs

    who will coach the all-star game. pretty stupid league announced nowak months ago


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