MLS expansion franchise Philadelphia will introduce Peter Nowak as its first head coach at a news conference on Friday, sources with knowledge of the hire confirmed to ESPNsoccernet on Thursday. Nowak, the only man to win an MLS Cup as a player and head coach, is leaving his post as U.S. national team assistant coach to take over as head coach for the Union, which will begin play in 2010.
Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz did not comment on the hire when contacted. However, Nowak, 44, was not with the U.S. national team in Miami on Wednesday at its first training session ahead of its upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras.
A decorated player for the Polish national team, Nowak joined MLS in 1998 with the Chicago Fire. Nowak captained the Fire to the 1998 MLS Cup title and U.S. Open Cup title, earning a reputation as one of the best central midfielders in the league during the course of his five-year career with Chicago.
Following his retirement, Nowak made a seamless transition to coaching in 2004 with D.C. United. Known for his no-nonsense approach, Nowak led D.C. to the MLS Cup title in his first season in charge. He spent three years as D.C. United's head coach, compiling a 42-27-25 record during that time.
Nowak left D.C. after the 2006 season, choosing to join Bob Bradley's coaching staff after Bradley was named U.S. national team head coach. Nowak served as head coach of the U.S. U-23 national team, guiding it to an appearance in the 2008 Olympics in China, where the United States finished 1-1-1.