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.

Peter Nowak 1 ( 


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.

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87 Responses to Nowak coming out of retirement to play for Union

  1. Joe G says:

    I totally fell for 2008’s joke. I had just gotten in from LA and I started spreading it as news. HAHA!

  2. Dannyc58 says:

    Almost too clever, more funny and not subtle enough!

    Love it though, Ives!

  3. SvenPeltonen says:

    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)

  4. Andy says:


  5. dlewis says:

    wow, I had a little doubt but still was falling for it.

  6. David says:

    Could be one of the more lame attempts at an April fool’s joke, but still a funny read nonetheless.

  7. Kevin in Denver says:

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

  8. Ben says:

    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.

  9. inkedAG says:

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

    Great job Ives!

  10. Trent says:

    Very nice. I honestly thought he was having some sort of mid-life crisis.

  11. seth davey says:

    Ives, I must say that I was fooled (and thank goodness this was a joke). Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

  12. m3tRo b0y says:

    Lol nice one

  13. nimajneb says:

    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.

  14. Christman says:

    I wasn’t fooled but very funny idea. Love it, Ives.

  15. kawa says:

    i knew this was crap the moment i saw it lol fail ives come better next time.

  16. ZACK says:

    Laughed and hooted out loud. Good one.

  17. Neumannator says:

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

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

  18. K-Town says:

    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.

  19. Sam Luedke says:

    HAHAHA! Neumannator is right. His personality would warrant that, as much of it as I know anyway.

    Good one!

  20. Onion Bag says:

    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.

  21. Al_OC says:

    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!

  22. section133 says:

    “Redbulls sign Henry” would have been enough.

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

  23. Dave from Charlotte says:

    1st reaction was WTF?!?

    2nd reaction was No wayyyyy, really?!

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

  24. Tony in Quakeland says:

    For a couple of seconds there…then I remembered the day.

  25. wally says:

    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.)

  26. Sean M says:

    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.

  27. daggius says:

    I realized it was an april fools joke from the start but I wanted it to be real cuz that would be awesome :(

  28. OmarVizquel says:

    Those were nice Nike unis.

  29. Dannyc58 says:

    Plus, its completely unoriginal. This was definitely funny/clever of Ives whether you knew it was a prank or not.

  30. Erik says:

    Damn I was hoping this was true!

  31. afc says:

    Very nice Ives.

  32. Dave B says:

    This one is much better than Arena taking the Mexico job…

  33. Freddy says:

    The SECOND I read the title of this post I instantly remembered Bruce Arena in a sombrero! Nice try though!

  34. Aristophanes says:

    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?

  35. Seriously? says:

    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…?

  36. FCBevo says:

    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.

  37. Charles says:

    Sidd Finch is really signing with the Red Bulls however.

  38. SoccerJohn says:

    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.

  39. Josh D says:

    You really don’t like Freddie do you Ives…..

  40. Robert says:

    Almost convinced… but thought it might be a joke…also, the man is a bit overweight!

  41. Aaron in StL says:

    Good one Ives.

    Although I think a better one would have been that Freddy Adu actually started a game in Greece.

  42. Steve C says:

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

  43. Rozz says:

    Well done sir.

  44. Mike Caramba says:

    I was waiting for it this time. The Arena one was an absolute classic.

  45. wilyboy says:

    The sad part is this actually sounds like something this driven nutcase would do.

  46. Guy Gayle says:

    You totally got me.

    Funny enough I didn’t get fooled by 2008.

  47. Jimmy Bobo says:

    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.

  48. timbull00 says:

    Dang that was a good one

  49. World Market says:

    I was about to make some comment about this guy being a hurricane wrapped inside of a tornado.

  50. Brian says:

    For those of us who are newer to the site what was the 2008 prank?

    (SBI-The link to it is in this post.)

  51. firefan98 says:

    good joke, I remembered what day it was, so I didn’t fall for it. But if I hadn’t just been reminded that it was April 1st, I might have fallen for it.

    Good one!

  52. tz0n3 says:

    I believed it for about 10 seconds, but I was like “WTF?”

  53. ian says:

    well played, good sir. well played.

  54. Luis F says:

    Ives, you might just be too soon on this story. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nowak suit up by August when he’s realized that his team is awful and they can’t bring in anymore players.

  55. Michael Cuello says:

    I goota say that you couldn’t get me on this one, even though 10% of me said “heck it’s possible!”

  56. BurlingtonChelsea says:

    I fell for it and was thinking that Nowak was just being sarcastic or doin git to make a point about diving…lol.

  57. frayedsanity13 says:

    Yeah, you got me. I’m new to the site, and by default of geography a new Union Supporter.

    Still I must say, this is not too far off from being doable/attemtable. I know it won’t happen, but it wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Think of the marketing angle!

  58. JD says:

    Ives, good joke. I was confused more than fooled. Szetela’s trial with Union made the joke tougher to pull off. The effort is still appreciated

  59. Sean says:

    All I could think was “What a crazy old man!”

  60. sublicon says:

    Brucie to Mexico won it.

  61. Lot15C says:

    Definitely had me. I was already thinking of ways I could bash Nowak in my post about how it was a “classless move” and whatnot. Good stuff!

  62. Benred says:

    I fell for it for about 5 seconds. Then I realized it was April 1st.

  63. Loki says:

    Is he eligible to play for the USMNT?

  64. ThaDeuce says:

    you got me

  65. Brett says:

    Eh, good effort. The Onion need not be worried about a Soccer By Ives parody news site.

  66. You know what’s sad? He’d probably still be better in the middle than Mwanga was.

  67. Paul says:

    In other news, one-time American starlet Freddy Adu announced he was coming out of retirement to play for, well, for anybody.

    Wait, what? He didn’t retire?

  68. adam says:

    pulled an all-nighter last night. either I’m gullible or the sleeplessness is totally getting to me, because I almost e-mailed my brother about this before clicking on the jump… way to go.

  69. ganzo, math phd candidate says:


  70. ganzo, math phd candidate says:



  71. Almost had me on that one, but I read the DP article first where you emphatically state that the DP isn’t an April Fool’s joke, so it hit me sooner on this one.

  72. Hunt says:

    hahaha my first reaction was “please don’t be an April fool’s joke!” I’d love to see Pete back on the field with his band of youngsters.

  73. Zachary S. says:

    I knew it was an April Fool’s Joke from the second I saw it (I’ve been on my guard today), but I still laughed out loud. Great read, too haha.

  74. Manny F says:

    Hahahaha, I could see the blogs/forums lining him up as a SA 2010 starter for the US if that would have the “story”.

  75. jai_brooklyn says:

    Should be on the Onion’s sports page.

  76. r.benjamin says:

    Pretty funny. Good one.

    Not knowing Nowak’s current fitness level, it had me thinking… Wow Nowak is the man. And this has to be a ploy to fire up his team..

    Although when I saw the picture and how old those Uni’s looked, ie how long ago it really was he played.. I basically figured it out.

  77. brad says:

    totally got me. as a union fan i was so disappointed. whew you got me bad. i feel like a goose

  78. Ted Decker says:

    wow you had me going on that one. i’m almost disappointed i really would have liked to see that.

  79. chicagofire says:

    I didn’t fall for it only because both my professors already tried to pull jokes on me in class already. I trust nobody until tomorrow.

  80. Bohawk says:

    Wow, got me. My face is still flush from the the apparent slight to Ljungberg

    (SBI-Nice, love that. Hope you got a good laugh out of it.)

  81. Simon says:

    You got me.

  82. KutamaObama says:

    I still recalled how the news of Bruce Arena being appointed the new coach for the Mexican side jolted me (of course it was an April fools joke) & even my friends that don’t exactly follow soccer were pretty much shocked fully knowing the history of the rivarly between US & Mexico & hearing that was like..,WOW!!! (& the picture of Bruce wearing that Mexican hat was just priceless). I said to myself (after it was a hoax & trying to calm my raving heart) that St. Ives will not play play me a fool again come April 1st
    when that time of the year comes around, the first thing I think about is how foolish i was to fall for that & I actually still laugh about that, printed that picture & I archived it. When I show it to my unknowing friends, the look on their faces says it all…..”when did Bruce coach Mexico? & I (trying so hard not to laugh & give it away) come up with some crap story & I end up giving it away by laughing. So Ives, nice try, I was waiting for u on this though it caught a few people. You the best.

  83. mike says:

    you could have had more people if you put up that tottenham were prepared to make a bid for freddy adu.

  84. JL says:

    I’ll be a man and admit I fell for it.

  85. bigvic says:

    april fool’s joke aside, nowak’s got a knee to his back coming…most likely from a swede.

  86. John Welsh says:

    Love it, I kept saying to myself “no way” after every sentence. I was so glad I read to the end. Good one!

  87. Joamiq says:

    This didn’t fool me for a second (nor did 2008), but both are still very funny – nicely done