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.

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70 Responses to Nowak out as Union coach

  1. Paul says:

    what about adu?!?!?!

  2. Sam says:

    Trades Le Toux and Danny Califf and gets fired. He got the lucky end of the deal…Union fans are gonna have to live with watching this team for the rest of the year regardless of who the coach is. Disgraceful from him AND upper management. Hope the team improves before the season ends, but I’m not optimistic.

  3. Yaznasty says:

    Gonna miss having him around. There were so many jokes left I never got to make at his expense.

  4. Tim says:

    Don’t forget Mwanga

  5. Matt says:

    is he still going to coach the MLS ASG?

  6. GSScasual says:

    as an RB fan, this upsets me.. his horrible job made us smile.

  7. Sam says:


  8. David says:

    The inevitability of this has been building since Le Toux was traded. It is unfortunate that Philly allowed him to dismantle the team before they fired him.

  9. Alex says:

    What an ending. Shipping off their best players from a playoff side, then applying for a random post and denying it, then finally getting fired.

    It’s straight out of Football Manager.

  10. Aljarov says:

    FM is more professional than Nowak. Most FM players have a better idea of what they’re doing too!

  11. Jon Maisano says:

    Pretty disappointed but seems understandable, no question some (all?) of decisions with personal didn’t go down well with administration and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a case of the team quitting on him. Nowak will be missed as he is a fine manager but we’ll move on.

  12. Scotch Man says:

    Not really surprised at all. I can put up with a lot. Moving the veterans and what not is part of the business and didn’t bother me. It was when they started losing to the likes of Toronto where it was obvious it was time for a change.

  13. Tyler K. says:

    He couldn’t leave before screwing over Philly in a massive way lol. It will probably take a season or two to undo the damage he’s done.

  14. Dos says:

    It seemed like his personnel decisions were more personal decisions than anything . . . obviously no one in his position is responsible for justifying or explaining every move, but there weren’t even the objective performance of some of the other players he went with to add any credibility to his strategy. His ego seemed pretty outsized, who knows . . . i can’t imagine the Hearts situation, whatever it may be, helped

  15. kkicks20 says:

    Who will coach the All-Star Game now? The new coach? Someone else? Interesting…

  16. Drew says:

    Union as an organization looks really bad right now… They blew up this team, Coach seemed to only give the Farfan bros confidence, No Dp… it’s a shame bc the fanbase deserves a playoff team, or at least a DP

  17. b says:

    Fine manager??

  18. Carlos says:

    Can only help Adu…Nowak has been a massive anchor on his development

  19. Old School says:

    He should have been fired for losing to the terribad Toronto FC.

    In fact, that loss alone should be a lifetime ban.

  20. robertk says:

    stop the Colombian invasion fire gutierrez as well, and let Alecko and Brendan pull the rest together you still have hack and rob to father the movement….

  21. BSU SC says:

    Anyone have suggestions on who the next coach should be? I think Richie Williams deserves a shot.

  22. Joe from Philly says:

    What that guy said.

  23. Adu says:

    This firing is about bad trades and poor play of the Union. People need to relax about Freddie Adu. He is NOT a National Team player and he is not lighting up MLS. He is a journeyman player that from time to time shows small flashes of good play. Most of the time he is missing on the field. Freddie stills needs to grow up. If Nowak and all his other coaches could not get him to mature the problem is Freddie, not all the other coaches and teams. In order for Freddie to become part of the Nats he will need to start tearing up MLS defenses week in and week out. I personally do not see him becoming that consistent.

  24. JJ says:

    Spencer’s next

  25. drew11 says:

    Hackworth in for Nowak. Out of the frying pan, into the fire for Philly.

  26. dcm says:

    New coach, Adu gets playing time, Adu gets called up to national team, Adu fits as the misses piece of the offensive puzzle, USMNT are 2014 Champions.
    Yep. I predict.

  27. Old School says:

    Jon Maisano in Italian means Peter Nowak.

  28. SilverRey says:

    Adu is his own massive anchor. I was in DC while he was there, and now am in Philly and have seen plenty of his games. He has flashes of brilliance, and has showed well for the U-20’s, but disappears in MLS games. He just seems lost out there sometimes. Until he focuses himself and his game, he’s just going to keep hopping from team to team.

    Is Leeds looking to bring him in? I saw an item on his wiki page that was unsourced, but stated he might go on trial there.

  29. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    This is Richie William’s chance. Smack dab in the middle of hi NJ home and his DC spiritual home. Good luck Williams.

  30. SilverRey says:

    I fear Nowak’s Napolean complex got the better of him. I think he just went a little crazy in the last year. Too bad, really. He was a great player and MLSer. I think he had some good ideas for the Union, the youth players he has brought in have all deserved the chance. But I think egos, personality, and the lack of communication just caught up in a bad way.

  31. PD says:

    Rumor has it he’s heading to Leeds…

  32. pd says:

    Article says no.

  33. PD says:

    In fairness, we only assume that LeToux and Califf were coaching decisions and not financial machinations by the front office.

    Nevertheless something had to give. The wheels fell off the bus a while ago.

  34. PD says:

    guardiola? We have freed up some money…

  35. Joe from Philly says:

    Maybe…I don’t know. Hack played some players that Nowak wouldn’t, when Hack was on the bench for some games. Something tells me Hack might do this. I guess we’ll see now that he’ll have to make those decisions himself…

  36. Tony in Quakeland says:

    The guy is one half a great coach…and one half a complete dunderhead. It’s really a shame.

  37. in my opinion says:

    Awful big mess to clean up and not many hands to help. First order of business is getting a quality veteran centerback.

  38. Gary says:

    Piss off.

  39. GSScasual says:

    he is moving to a real city..

  40. pork says:

    you kidding right? Alecko and Brendan who are they?

  41. pork says:


  42. 99 says:

    i thought he’d go before nowak.

  43. 99 says:

    Philly fans, question: How come we would see tifo displays of Nowaks face every home game this year? I was always surprised to see them on the tv, did he still have a lot of support?

  44. ScottP from DE says:

    Good riddance Nowak-a$$

    Can we have LeToux back now?

  45. don says:

    This circus is in need of a conspiracy theory… what if the Union FO orchestrated all this from the start because of a lack of funds? Nowak wanted to leave, so they tell him to clean house for a few months, they would blame him, but let him go with a handsome severance. They know the fans will come, and they save a ton on salaries.

  46. eddie says:

    Best news all SEASON so far. Get RID of an ARROGANT, BIG HEADED so called manager, who was completely clueless. He did not know what he was doing. It took to long, to say the least.

  47. KLYS says:

    nothing much about that schmuck

  48. Joe shmoe says:

    I think midget has job already

  49. Joe shmoe says:

    it doesn’t make any sense Novak had contract till end of dec. 2012

  50. RBNY says:

    Philly should be relegated.

  51. Kejsare says:

    Timbers are 7th in the West. Nothing to implode just yet.

    [USOC excepted]

  52. michael vann says:

    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.

  53. Johnny Ramone says:

    Sorry to see Nowak go. He & Winter gave us all a lot of laughs.

  54. fish says:

    Old School, you are not a very bright dude

  55. JoeW says:

    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).

  56. WileyJ says:

    Thank you!!

  57. Skifast says:

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

  58. Snyder says:

    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.

  59. jpat2411 says:

    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.

  60. Jim says:

    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.

  61. Judging Amy says:

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

  62. Ivan says:

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

  63. DCUva says:

    Olsen for ASG Coach!

  64. Stracho says:

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

  65. Stracho says:

    Adu should focus on helping himself by playing better, more consistently

  66. Esteban de la Sexface says:

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

  67. Esteban de la Sexface says:

    @SilverRey +1

  68. Esteban de la Sexface says:


  69. Esteban de la Sexface says:

    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.

  70. gbs says:

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