PHILADELPHHIA NEWS

Philadelphia Union selects Nowak as first coach

May 29, 2009

CHESTER, Pa. -- Already a two-time champion in Major League Soccer, Peter Nowak is going to try to turn Philadelphia's expansion franchise into a winner.

The Philadelphia Union, the newest MLS franchise, announced Nowak as its first team manager on Friday. The former Polish national team captain will run the team's soccer operations as coach and head of personnel when it begins play next year.

Nowak said the chance to mold the team from the very start appealed to him.

"It was a very unique opportunity that I could not let pass by," Nowak said. "I will get a wide, very wide, variety of responsibilities."

The Union is getting a proven winner in Nowak, who is the only man in MLS history to win titles as both a player and coach. He was a member of the Chicago Fire team that won the MLS Cup in 1998 and was the head coach of D.C. United's 2004 championship team.

"To be back in the league is a very good thing," Nowak said.

Philadelphia Union chairman Jay Sugarman said Nowak positions the team for success right away.

"I was taught a long time ago that in business, if you want to hire winners you start by looking for those that have already been in the winner's circle," Sugarman said.

U.S. Soccer announced Nowak's departure from the national team on Thursday. Nowak had served as the top assistant to coach Bob Bradley on the men's team and led the under-23 national team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Nowak helped the U.S. team capture the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and compile a 9-1-1 record in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Overall, the U.S. team's record is 24-8-4 since Nowak joined the coaching staff in December 2006.

Bradley said on a conference call that he wishes Nowak the best of luck in his return to MLS.

"Peter's a great friend of ours, has been a very important part of the work we've done as a staff," Bradley said. "We are very excited for him and his family to have this type of opportunity."

Nowak said his time with U.S. Soccer was a "tremendous experience."

"I'm extremely grateful for that," he said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press