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Califf: “They were looking to get rid of me”

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

At Wednesday’s press conference in which Peter Nowak announced that a deal was in place to trade Danny Califf, the spin was that the former Union captain was ready to go “home” to Southern California. Kerith Gabriel reports Califf’s reaction when listening to the press conference was, “It made me want to throw up.”

Califf told Gabriel, “I think Peter was forthcoming in the fact that there were rumors, offers or whatever for a trade…to be fair to him he did tell me about the offers. But at that point, how do you take that? Your coach is telling you there’s offers, but there are offers all the time so the only way you can take that is they were looking to get rid of me.”

Califf spoke to Chris Vito about his feelings toward the Union fans.

It’s been, I felt an incredible bond with the fanbase just about from the very beginning. It was really and it is really something that really vaults this club. It’s such an integral part of what the Union is all about. I feel real fortunate that they appreciate the effort that I put out on the field. They appreciate it, they’re knowledgable enough to see it even when I’m not perfect. They’ve been amazing to me from the outset, top to bottom. It’s been absolutely, 100-percent been a highlight to play at PPL Park and in front of those fans. God’s honest, 100-percent, the highlight. I can’t say enough.

Califf said further, “My family and I are really sad to leave. We put down roots. Regardless of the other stuff, I understand it’s professional sports, but I’m sad to leave an area where we really felt comfortable and I really enjoyed playing.”

Both Vito and Gabriel report that the previously unnamed second team that Nowak said had made an offer for Califf was Toronto. Califf told Vito, “(Union manager Peter Nowak) came and said they had offers from Toronto and Chivas. I didn’t even know what to say. I couldn’t say anything. I called Peter back later and said, ‘Please, if you’re going to make this trade, please don’t send me to Toronto. If you have to make this trade, please don’t let it be to Toronto.’”

The panel on the ExtraTime Radio podcast at MLSsoccer.com agree that Califf was traded because he clashed with Peter Nowak. (Califf discussion begins around 9:20 mark.)

Goal.com observes, “It is just a little bit peculiar to see a move by a Philadelphia team pave the way for a New York team to strengthen its own lot. Does that gambit show exactly how much Nowak wanted to get shut of Califf or did the Union just not know about the potential knock-on effect?”

Goal.com also predicts the Union will lose on Saturday.

Connecting the Califf trade to the departure of Sebastien Le Toux, Marc Narducci writes at the Inquirer, “Only a cynic would suggest that the Union would trade the two players most known for their total candor with the media. The Union would certainly cry foul on that accusation,” before adding, “The team’s brass has constantly said it makes moves only to make the team better. Yet, that doesn’t mean the moves have made the team better.” He concludes, “That said, it isn’t fair to the Union or the 25-year-old Lahoud to criticize the trade. Let’s see how it works.”

Referring to Califf, Le Toux and Jordan Harvey, Ryan Bright notes at CSN Philly, “Califf is the third fan-favorite to be moved by coach Peter Nowak and the Union in the last two seasons. However, Califf is the first to bring a player back in return.”

Soccer America writes, “The departure of Califf brings to 15 the number of players who have departed since Houston eliminated the Union in the Eastern Conference semifinals. That’s not turnover, it’s upheaval.”

The announcement on the Chivas USA website about the Califf trade confirms that it was secondary the acquisition of Juan Agudelo from New York in exchange for Heath Pearce. Says head coach Robin Fraser, “Obviously, losing Heath, our thoughts were to acquire a center back and we had the ability to get Danny Califf.”

Sheanon Williams on taking over Califf’s position in the middle: “You know, it’s whatever we need. You can’t be picky when the team needs you.” He said further, “Right back, center back—I defend first. But I like to attack and that’s obviously hard to do when you’re playing center back. Right back is definitely where I’m most comfortable, where I’ve played the longest and definitely where I feel most at home.”

Kevin Kinkead looks further at how the Califf trade affects the Union defense.

MLS Talk’s review of the Califf trade concludes with how the obscurity of the club’s vision affects support from the fans. “The direction of the first team is rarely clear, which forces fans to cling to the few players who directly relate to them. Califf was one of those players, and he’s the latest sell-off for the Philadelphia organization. Now more than ever, the plan for the future of the Union needs to be crystal clear. Without more confidence in the true course of this team, a season of losing games and favorite players will continue to eat at the connection to the fanbase.”

Lamenting the loss of Califf and everything he has meant to the club and its fans, Philly Union Talk asks, “What can Chivas offer us to beat that?”

YSA Report previews the Dallas game.

Here’s a look at the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinals that will be hosted this weekend by Drexel at PPL Park that will feature teams from the University of Virginia, the University of Notre Dame, Colgate University and Duke University. In related news, the Inquirer reports on how the Philadelphia area has become a prominent lacrosse recruiting area.

Local

Here’s a preview of Saturday’s Harrisburg City Islander’s match against Dayton Dutch Lions. It will be the second of six home games in a row and follows Wednesday’s scoreless draw with Pittsburgh River Hounds.

Derek Meluzio previews the City Islanders US Open Cup match on Tuesday against Long Island Rough Riders.

Lehigh Valley’s The Morning Call previews tonight’s NPSL game between FC Sonic and Junior Lone Star. You can read our preview of the game here.

MLS

Brek Shea has been suspended for three games for kicking a ball at a linesman last Saturday.

MLSsoccer.com looks at fan interest in the league around the world.

Women’s Soccer

It’s official: a press release on the WPS Facebook page announces the league has permanently suspended operations. Another release says a settlement has been reached with Dan Borislow

The Courier-Post looks at the Philadelphia Fever ahead of Sunday’s home opener against New England Mutiny (7:30pm, Washington Township High School, Sewell, NJ). Fever owner Matt Driver says of the team, “They will be competitive, but the important thing now is getting together a team that can improve and move forward…Realistically, we were into the league before we had any players. We’ve put everything together in four or five weeks, and we will be competing against professional national team players.”

Fever coach Stuart Gore adds, “Our goal is to take it one game at at time. I’m thinking about Mutiny this week, and then we’ll start preparing for Chesapeake. I just want to be competitive in every game, and to not get ahead of ourselves.”

Fever defenders Molly Allen and Myriam Bouchard played together at Virginia Commonwealth. “Playing alongside Myriam again, my former teammate at VCU and a fellow Canadian, makes the transition that much easier,” said Allen. “It’s a great opportunity to play in this league after my college career, because it will be among one of the most competitive pro-am leagues in North America. This will be a great start for me if I want to continue to play soccer.”

Havertown’s Sinead Farrelly has joined the long list of former Philadelphia Independence players who have signed with former Independence coach Paul Riley’s New York Fury. The Fury also signed former Boston Breakers forward Claire Zimmick.

US

Al Jazeera will launch an English and a Spanish language soccer channel in the US on August 1. The network recently acquired the rights to broadcast La Liga, Ligue Un (English-only), Serie A, the Copa America tournament, and South American World Cup qualifiers.

Elsewhere

Grant Wahl looks at Bayern Munich ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final (2:45pm, FOX). SI also has a podcast preview of the final.

The Guardian says the Chelsea-Bayern fianl isn’t really a tale of Ango-German rivalry.

22 Comments

  1. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    I would be pissed if they keep Williams at CB for long. He has a NT level future at RB and I would hate them even more for taking that way from him.

    • DarthLos117 says:

      We got a 3-5-2/4-4-2 hybrid formation now. Williams will feature both at center and right back depending on in game tactics and need.

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        That’s another topic I wanted to bring up. Is there any chance that works for us? I know teams in Italy use it but I wouldn’t exactly trust a 3 year old MLS team to replicate the success of a 3-5-2.

        • DarthLos117 says:

          Personally I a fan of 4 at the back either in a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 but a 3-5-2/4-4-2 could work. I see M. Farfan as the 4 and 5 on the right in this equation/formation…M. Farfan with more defensive responsibilities.

          • DarthLos117 says:

            Also in this type of formation, I wouldnt expect to see to much of Williams making those speedy runs down the flank…as he will be thinking defensively full time.

          • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

            Personally I want to see Gabe on the wing now too. He has skills with the ball too but they have been hidden since he is playing LB so much.

          • It seems to me that a 3 man back line is the way they are going. Because why get more midfielders? Why get the German when they probably had an inkling that Califf was on his way out? It seems like come hell or high water Nowak is gonna implement this syster.

          • The Black Hand says:

            I like the four man back, as well. Michael Farfan could be very effective as an attacking right defender, much like Barcelona uses Dani Alves. I would stick with Gaddis at LB. He is a more disciplined player, and a better defender, than Gabe. Shaenon’s size is an issue at CB. We will need our outside backs and midfielders to, really, step up and disrupt the opposition’s service from the wings.

  2. The ‘Philly Blues’ will host a big party tomorrow in Tir Na Nog for the Champions League final. All-you-can-drink between 2-6pm (includes everything other than top shelf liquor (including shots)) for $50. If you are not into that, then you can just order food and drink from the menu.
    Also, if you want to sit in the Chelsea Supporters section during the All-Star game (or at Yankee Stadium) then find us on Facebook for further info.

  3. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    So, this whole episode tells me a couple of things. First — what’s with the legacy media on this? The only people actually doing proper analysis on the issue are bloggers like PSP and Brotherly Game (this discussion is great: http://www.brotherlygame.com/2012/5/18/3024684/a-good-reason-to-trade-danny-califf), while the newspaper folks are parroting platitudes they pick up from Nowak/FO or Ives Galarcep.

    Also, I think it’s beyond any reasonable doubt that Nowak is running this team like a dictator. And not a particularly good one. More Ivan than Peter.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      You can’t even call up to talk soccer on stations like WIP. ESPN doesn’t even show any soccer highlights except for the 1% most important ones. The average American views soccer in the same way they view ballet.
      And you’re wondering where the mainstream media coverage of this is?

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        That’s a whole other level of “huh.” I’m taking about the Union’s beat writers at papers. But maybe you’re right — maybe I’m being too hard of them and expecting too much. Although the proactivity of soccer journalists in some other MLS markets make me feel like we could do much better.

  4. I’m passing on the US Open Cup. I was up for it but I just feel sick about spending any more money on this organization. The contrast between how excited I was that we were getting a team and becoming a founding member and the deflated feeling I have now is astonishing in just 2 1/3 seasons.

    • Yeah sorry to hear it. The bubble burst a bit too soon. Obviously management is to blame.

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      I think this whole episode needs to force a rethink as to why people should support the team. Are we supporting Philadelphia because they happen to be a local, live professional soccer team? Or is it more than that?

      For me, at least, it’s always been more than that. It’s about the players, about the way they played (different from results, mind you), and about the city.

      But when the FO is playing a game of opaque, negative management while promoting negative football on the pitch, casting away those who are clearly ones the fans appreciate and best relate to, then what’s left?

      Why should I give money and free publicity (merchandise) to a team that throws out good, well-liked players on a whim, blames fans for failure (Ruiz), maintains a shrouded regime, and does poorly to boot?

      My loyalty is not the Union’s ledger, but the team — that is, the collection of players, their style and performance on the pitch, and the relationship to the fans. If that’s gone, only the ledger is left. That’s not what I ever signed up for.

  5. so i have to watch Al Jazeera to catch La Liga and Serie A next year?

  6. Fire Nowak !

  7. Fire friggin Nowak

  8. Fire Nowak again!

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