Photo: Earl Gardner
Philadelphia Union CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz announced on Wednesday that Peter Nowak is no longer with the Union.
Union assistant coach John Hackworth will now lead the team as interim manager.
The announcement confirms a report from Philadelphia Daily News reporter Kerith Gabriel published less than an hour before the press conference saying that Nowak “is out as manager and vice president of soccer operations with the club.” Delco Times reporter Chris Vito published a similar report shortly before the press conference began.
Sakiewicz said, “Peter Nowak is stepping down as our head coach and team manager. I made the decision to do that.”
“Over a period of time we determined we were no longer on the same page,” he said, emphasizing the central issue was one of differing styles and how the Union brand was being represented. Recent player moves were not a factor.
Sakiewicz said the decision was made after consultation with the team’s ownership group.
Hackworth will take over as team manager and oversee all soccer operations. “I have immense comfort with him leading our guys,” said Sakiewicz.
Sakiewicz said the decision was “not about wins and losses or performance of the team. This is more about philosophical differences.”
“Peter’s contributions have been greatly appreciated by me and our investor group.”
John Hackworth said, “I wouldn’t be here without Peter Nowak,” adding, “He’s a dear friend of mine.”
Hackworth said, “I’m very excited to get to work.” He said there will be no coaching staff changes.
Nowak leaves the team with a 2–7–2 record and on the heels of a series of very unpopular trades that have left the Union fanbase reeling. Nowak was also due to coach the MLS All-Stars against Chelsea at PPL Park on July 25.
Nowak was named head coach of the Union on May 29, 2009, one day after he resigned as an assistant coach of the US Men’s national team. His record with the Union since the inaugural 2010 season was 21-30-24.
Nowak’s departure follows reports on Saturday that he had submitted his CV for the head coaching job at Scottish club Hearts. While Nowak denied the reports as “absolutely false,” Barry Anderson, the Edinburgh Evening News reporter who first broke the news, stood by his story and later tweeted that he was “100% definite” that Nowak had applied for the job.
When asked about the reports during the press conference, Sakiewicz described them as “rumors” but acknowledged they were “not good timing.” He continued, “No employer wants to read that his most important guy or asset is out looking for employment.”
The media advisory distributed by the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday morning announcing the Sakiewicz press conference resulted in rampant speculation on Twitter.
Earlier in the week, the Union informed members of the press that Peter Nowak would be holding his weekly press conference at 1:30pm on Wednesday. Philadelphia Union and MLSsoccer.com reporter Dave Zeitlin confirmed via Twitter that the scheduled Nowak press conference had been cancelled. Speculation as to the subject of the press conference only grew when CSN tweeted they would be broadcasting the press conference.
PSP will have more information as it becomes available.
Managing editor Ed Farnsworth contributed to this story.