Piotr Nowak

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Piotr Nowak
2011-06-18 Piotr-Nowak.jpg
Nowak speaking to the press.
Personal information
Full name Piotr Nowak
Date of birth (1964-07-05) 5 July 1964 (age 50)
Place of birth Pabianice, Poland
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1983 Włókniarz Pabianice
1983–1984 GKS Bełchatów
1984–1985 Zawisza Bydgoszcz 39 (8)
1985–1986 Widzew Łódź 10 (2)
1987–1990 Zawisza Bydgoszcz 83 (18)
1990–1992 Bakırköyspor 54 (16)
1992–1993 BSC Young Boys 42 (4)
1993–1994 Dynamo Dresden 23 (2)
1994–1998 TSV 1860 München 93 (15)
1998–2002 Chicago Fire 114 (26)
National team
1990–1998 Poland 24 (3)
Teams managed
2004–2006 D.C. United
2007–2009 United States U-23
2007–2009 United States (assistant)
2010–2012 Philadelphia Union
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Piotr Nowak (/ˈptər ˈnvæk/; Polish pronunciation: [pʲɔtr ˈnɔvak]; born 5 July 1964 in Pabianice) is a Polish former professional football player. He was most recently the head coach of the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer.

Nowak enjoyed a successful playing career in Europe, playing for Polish clubs such as Zawisza Bydgoszcz and Widzew Łódź, before going on to play in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany. He was voted one of the best players in the Bundesliga for the 1995–96 season while playing with 1860 Munich. He moved to the United States in 1998 and played four years with Chicago Fire.

Nowak was also an important member of the Poland national football team throughout the 1990s, earning 24 caps, serving as national captain for several years, and being voted Polish Player of the Year in 1996.

As a coach, he is a former assistant coach of the United States men's national soccer team under Bob Bradley, former head coach of United States U-23 men's national soccer team, and former head coach of D.C. United and Philadelphia Union of MLS.

Playing career[edit]


Nowak began playing professional football at the age of 15, when he debuted in 1979 for Włókniarz Pabianice in his native Poland, with whom he played his first four years. Nowak would go on to play for Zawisza Bydgoszcz, Motor Lublin, and Widzew Łódź before leaving Poland for Bakırköyspor of the Turkish first division in 1990. Nowak then played for Young Boys Berne of Switzerland and Dynamo Dresden before moving to the Bundesliga in 1994 by signing with 1. FC Kaiserslautern. After that, Nowak moved to TSV 1860 München, where he would play until 1998, and with whom he was voted the best playmaker of the Bundesliga for the 1995–96 season, as well as Polish player of the year in 1996.

In 1998, Nowak moved to the United States to play in Major League Soccer for the Chicago Fire. In their inaugural season, Nowak led the Fire to a victory in the MLS Cup, and was soon recognized as one of the best players in the league. He also led the Fire to two US Open Cup victories, playing 114 league games for the team, registering 26 goals and 46 assists. Nowak played with the Fire until 2002, when, due to salary cap constraints, he was traded to the New England Revolution, which immediately spurred his retirement.


Nowak was also an important player for the Polish national team, which he captained for three years, and for whom he played 24 games and scored three goals.

Coaching career[edit]

After a year off, Nowak was appointed as head coach of D.C. United starting in the 2004 season. He quickly pulled the team together and led D.C. to their fourth MLS Cup.

On 20 December 2006, the Washington Post reported that Nowak would be leaving United to act as assistant to Bob Bradley with the United States Men's national team, and the Under-23 Men's national team,[1] which competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

On 28 May 2009, Nowak resigned from his position with the United States Men's National Team.[2] Subsequently, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Nowak would be the first head coach of the MLS' Philadelphia Union when it begins play in 2010.[3] On Friday, 29 May 2009, Nowak was introduced to the Philadelphia media.

Nowak was fired by the Union on 13 June 2012 after a series of controversial moves including the trade of the Union's leading goal scorer, Sebastian Le Toux, captain Danny Califf, and number one draft pick Danny Mwanga. Before he was fired, Nowak had presided over the Union's worst season to date, posting a 2–7–2 record.[4] The official reasoning behind the firing was revealed in July 2012 when Nowak filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the team. Union officials claimed that Nowak had breached League rules relating to collective bargaining agreements, negligence in managing the health and welfare of players during practices and games, and breaches of team rules, including "orally berating and physically intimidating fellow employees."[5] One source has said Nowak may have actually profited from these player transactions.


In 2003, Nowak was named the first member of the Ring of Fire, the highest honor the Chicago Fire bestows, and his name and number 10 are displayed high at midfield at their stadium, Toyota Park. In 2005, Nowak was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI. In 2012, Nowak was honored at a halftime celebration of the Fire's 15th season with other Fire greats.

For his contribution to promotion of Poland abroad and achievements as a coach, he received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2005.[6]



Team From To Record
G W L D Win %
D.C. United 2004 2006 94 42 27 25 44.68%
United States U-23 2007 2009
Philadelphia Union 2010 2012 75 21 30 24 28
Total 169 63 57 49 37.28

Updated on 27 May 2012.

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 6 May 1990 Soldier Field, Chicago, USA  Costa Rica 2–0 Win Friendly
2. 25 April 1995 Górnik Zabrze Stadium, Zabrze, Poland  Israel 4–3 Win UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying
3. 7 June 1995 Górnik Zabrze Stadium, Zabrze, Poland  Slovakia 5–0 Win UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying
Correct as of 11 October 2010

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goff, Steven (21 December 2006). "Nowak to Leave D.C. for U.S. Team". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Nowak Resigns from Men's National Team Staff". ussoccer.com. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Nowak hired as first head coach of Philadelphia Union". The Philadelphia Inquirer. [dead link]
  4. ^ Gabriel, Kerith (13 June 2012). "Peter Nowak out as Philadelphia Union manager". philly.com. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Tannenwald, Jonathan (24 July 2012). "Former Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak sues team for wrongful termination and unpaid severance money". Philly.com. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "United Coach Honored On Peter Nowak Day". washingtonpost.com. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 

External links[edit]