Nick Sakiewicz

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Nick Sakiewicz
Personal information
Date of birth (1961-01-14) January 14, 1961 (age 54)
Place of birth Passaic, New Jersey, United States
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1979-1983 University of New Haven
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984 New York Arrows (indoor) 2 (0)
1990 Tampa Bay Rowdies 0 (0)
Teams managed
-1990 College of Boca Raton (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Nick Sakiewicz (born January 14, 1961) is a former soccer goalkeeper and current soccer executive. He is currently the CEO and Operating Partner of Keystone Sports & Entertainment, LLC, the ownership group of the Philadelphia Union. He played in the Major Indoor Soccer League and American Professional Soccer League and coached at the youth and college levels. He was the president of both the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the MetroStars.

Player[edit]

Sakiewicz, the son of a Polish immigrant father and mother, attended the University of New Haven where he played on the school's NCAA Division II soccer team from 1979 to 1982. He was a 1981, 1982 and 1983 All New England and 1982 Division II Second Team All American goalkeeper.[1] After graduating from New Haven, he moved to Europe where he claimed to have joined FC Nantes as a developmental player. He has also claimed to have spent a short time with Belenenses of Portugal in 1984. He returned to the United States and played two games for the New York Arrows of the Major Indoor Soccer League during the 1983-1984 season.[2] He spent an extended hiatus from the professional game after a serious leg injury and pursued business opportunities, continuing with the game by coaching and playing at the amateur level. In 1990, he returned to the professional game for one season with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the American Professional Soccer League.[3]

Coach[edit]

Following his retirement as a player, Sakiewicz coached youth soccer in Florida and was an assistant coach with the College of Boca Raton.

Management[edit]

In the late 1980s, Sakiewicz was a co-owner of the South Florida based Ezell-Titterton Inc. In 1995 and early 1996, Sakiewicz worked as an executive at Major League Soccer. In October 1996, he became the President of the Tampa Bay Mutiny.[4] In 1999 he was named MLS Executive of the Year after three seasons with the Mutiny, before leaving to become President of the MetroStars. With the MetroStars he was named MLS Executive of the Year for a second time in 2000, after the team finished atop the Eastern Division in the regular season. Over five seasons the MetroStars appeared in the 2003 U.S. Open Cup final and qualified for the MLS playoffs four times, but only won one playoff series. The team improved their sponsorship revenue and local broadcasting contracts under his management. Sakiewicz made good on his promise to build a soccer specific stadium and led the successful completion of the finance deal which resulted in the groundbreaking of Red Bull Arena and subsequent sale of the MetroStars to Red Bull Energy Drink Company. The sale of the MetroStars, as well as his relationhip with hardcore fans, led to some criticism of Sakiewicz's tenure in New York.[5]

During the 2005 season, Sakiewicz was promoted to President of AEG New York, LLC, where he oversaw the sale of the MetroStars to Red Bull in 2006. In November 2007 he left AEG to become the co-founder and CEO of the Philadelphia Union. Philadelphia was announced as the 16th MLS franchise and completed construction of their own soccer-specific stadium, PPL Park, in 2010 after spending half their inaugural season on the road and at Lincoln Financial Field. After a brief playoff appearance in 2011, the Philadelphia Union failed to make another playoff appearance and precipitated the ouster of head coach Peter Nowak under allegations of player abuse and potentially profiting from the sale of certain players. John Hackworth was appointed as coach with Sakiewicz's support, but failed to improve the team's record and was fired in 2014 after opening the club's season with a 2-7-5 record. The subsequent elevation of assistant coach Jim Curtin to the head role continued the trend in promoting assistants from within the organization, and led to much criticism of Nick Sakiewicz's influence on the Union's coaching personnel. Foremost among the criticism were allegations that Sakiewicz had misled fans after calling for a "worldwide" search for a new head coach, only to settle on an assistant already part of the club.[6][7] Additionally, in 2014 Nick Sakiewicz's position in acquiring new players was redefined after remaining somewhat ambiguous. However, after several marquee signings failed to have an impact on the team's performance, majority owner Jay Sugarman went on record to say that Sakiewicz's role would pertain to business operations going forward with the club.[8] Nick Sakiewicz responded to this criticism with claims that all previous personnel decisions went on without his involvement.[9] This controversy came to a head in 2015 when Algerian national team goalkeeper, Rais M'Bolhi, largely seen as a signing heavily influenced by Sakiewicz, was benched and later left the team to return to Europe.[10]

Sack Sak/Sak Out Movement[edit]

After multiple disappointing seasons without a playoff appearance, and a large degree of roster and coaching turnover, Union fans took to social media to express their displeasure with the Union front office. After polls on popular Union fan sites showed 63% of respondents agreed with Sakiewicz's removal from any involvement with the team, and 73% solely blaming him for the Union's lack of success in MLS.[11] The use of the hashtag "#sacksak" and "#sakout" became associated with growing anger of Sakiewicz's management of the team.

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