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Nowak coming out of retirement to play for Union

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Peter Nowak had some harsh things to say about Freddie Ljungberg last week, but the Philadelphia Union manager had a revelation after watching what he felt were questionable moves by Ljungberg and preferential treatment by referees toward Ljungberg.

Nowak realized he just might still be able to play in MLS.

The former Chicago Fire star has decided to come out of retirement to help give the Union the central midfield spark the team is sorely lacking. Though he is 45 years old and eight years removed from his last season in MLS, Nowak believes MLS is an easier league to play in now and he feels he can still contribute to a team sorely needing on-field leadership.

"I watched Freddie Ljungberg and I figure if nobody can touch me then I can play in this league until I'm 50," said Nowak, who led the 1998 Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup title. "I can still run a little bit and if anybody hits me I will fall down and wait for the whistle like Mr. Ljungberg."

Nowak has signed a veteran's minimum contract with the Union ($40,000) and is expected to be in uniform when Philadelphia faces D.C. United in its home opener at Lincoln Financial Field on April 10. Nowak led D.C. United to the 2004 MLS Cup as its head coach.

When asked if he thought he was too old to play professionally, Nowak scoffed and pointed to some of the other older players in MLS.

"Kasey Keller is over 40 and Pat Onstad is older than me," Nowak said. "If you have the heart and the legs, you can play this game."

The news came as a surprise to Philadelphia Union players, many of whom are young enough to be Nowak's children.

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Okay, so we had to give it a shot. I realize that this still isn't as good as our 2008 April Fool's Joke, but I suppose I was hoping to catch at least a few of you.

Good luck not getting fooled today. And if this post fooled you, please don't be afraid to admit it.


  1. Really excellent work, Ives. I caught on to the joke early on… but only when I realized today was April first. You had me going there for a little bit. Keep up the good work and the sense of humor.

  2. Good one! Chicago Fire still own his rights though.. so he’d be the coach of the Union, but have to play for Chicago.

  3. I’m bummed that you admitted it under the fold! I’d have loved to see some of the comments that resulted. Thanks for the fun.

  4. At first I thought it was a joke, but the more I read the more convincing the story got. You put in enough actual facts and back story that I was frantically clicking the link to see the rest of the story! Well done.

    I wish I remembered the 2008 prank.

  5. Should have gone with Steve Nicol. I’d love to have seen if anyone would have been fooled by that one.

    What was it that quote PT Barnum is credited as having said…?

  6. Haha, hilarious Ives. My favorite parts were the fake quotes.

    “I watched Freddie Ljungberg and I figure if nobody can touch me then I can play in this league until I’m 50,” said Nowak, who led the 1998 Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup title. “I can still run a little bit and if anybody hits me I will fall down and wait for the whistle like Mr. Ljungberg.”

    nice one. With all that’s going on, him saying this is totally believable.

    Speaking of coaching interviews, who in MLS is most like the “special one” in giving hilarious and candid interviews?

  7. I was just thinking about april 1st if I wasn’t I would have ate this up at first haha,nice try Ives thanks for everything.

  8. Good one! One suggestion – next time, don’t say April Fools. Commit to the fake story.

    (SBI-Nah, no need to let it fester. I’m just looking for the quick laugh and letting people get on with there day. If we ran it as legitimate I can guarantee you things would get out of hand, so it isn’t worth it. Well, maybe this one time it would have been funny to see it spread, but still. Ah well.)

  9. 1st reaction was WTF?!?

    2nd reaction was No wayyyyy, really?!

    3rd reaction – give this the sniff test on another footy site.

  10. “Redbulls sign Henry” would have been enough.

    (SBI-That’s actually going to happen though, so it’s less funny.)

  11. Haha..ever since 08’s April fool, I’ve always watched for weird news on April 1st. So, sorry you didn’t get me this time. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing the famous Bruce’s pic wearing a sombrero.

    Nice try though!

  12. Maybe he’ll start himself as the attacking midfielder!

    In all seriousness, this war of words about Ljunberg’s injury (or diving depending on your perspective) did a fantastic job distracting everyone from Nowak’s choices to start an untested rookie forward as his attacking mid as well as throwing several other rookies into the mix (one of which came in hard twice from behind that lead to the first half dismissal). Again, depending on your perspective, you could say Nowak is taking a long term approach to player development OR you could say his style backfired in the first game. Either way, we’re NOT talking about his managing. Well played, Piotr.

  13. May just be an April fools joke, but the sadest part is that it would be an upgrade on what they have. I remember seeing Jordan on the sidelines with the Wizards, thinking, why did i retire? these kids can’t play.

  14. You had me for 10 seconds before I remembered what day it is.

    But knowing Nowak’s personality, it’s almost believable.

  15. Nowak conceded his willingness to play may in part be due to avoiding the physical offenders of his own team. Should David Myrie be picked up by another MLS team, retirement looms once again.

  16. 2008 is really tough to top, but I think this one was funnier because it is a tad more believeable. 😉

    Great job Ives!

  17. I started to fall for it, but it didn’t take longer than a few seconds to convince me otherwise.

    An easier one would be Claudio Reyna maybe, or if you wanted to tug at heartstrings, John O’Brien on trial with Philly.

  18. It’d be hilarious if it wasn’t definitely possible. Especially if he was given every whistle like Ljungberg.

  19. You got me, Ives. I could see Nowak do such a thing as a matter of fact.

    (SBI-I got one. Mission Accomplished. Thanks man. LOL)


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