Ugly details of Peter Nowak’s time with Union made public

by RYAN BRISTER

Peter Nowak was acrimoniously fired by the Philadelphia Union in June 2012, and promptly sued the club for wrongful termination.

Details of that court case have finally come to light, and they do not reflect well on the Union’s first manager.

Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com obtained hundreds of pages of documents from the lawsuit, and spent Tuesday night tweeting out some of the more choice items.

In the court filings, Nowak is revealed to have taken an old-school coaching style to the extreme. To give one example, Nowak accused players of faking concussions and suggested that players who missed time as a result of them were, shall we say, soft. This detail was made known to the MLS Players Union, and in the case the Union cited it as a failure to abide by league rules.

Additionally, Nowak ignored a team trainer’s advice in denying players water on a 10-mile trail run in May 2012. This came shortly before his firing.

Perhaps the most bizarre detail is that Nowak personally took part in the hazing of rookie players, going so far as to dip his hand in ice water and spank them. This practice began when Nowak was a coach for DC United — and continued after the Union told him to cease.

When these details came to the league’s attention, it was strongly suggested to the Union that they fire Nowak, which they did.

Of note to New York soccer fans: the case outlines the close relationship between Nowak and Shep Messing, who served as an adviser to Nowak during his time as a manager. Messing received a championship ring from DC after Nowak led the team to the 2004 MLS Cup despite not having a connection to the side.

Nowak is currently the head coach for Antigua and Barbuda.


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