Friday, August 31, 2012

Union take interim tag off Hackworth

Chester, Pa. (The Phanatic Magazine) – The Philadelphia Union have removed the interim tag from and named John Hackworth the club’s permanent team manager.

The 42-year-old Hackworth, who has almost two decades of coaching experience including seven years with the US national team, has been rewarded with a long-term contract after overseeing a slight turnaround in the Union's form following his appointment as team manager after the unpopular Peter Nowak was fired on June 13.

Hackworth transformed a record of 2-7-2 set in the Union’s first 11 games under Nowak to a much more competitive 5-6-2 during his opening 13 matches in charge, although the team has faltered of late.

“I’m very excited to have been given this opportunity," Hackworth said. "I’ve worked for this organization since 2009 and it’s been a real privilege to see it grow into the wonderful club it is today. We have a very talented and committed group of players in our locker room and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with them long term as they and the organization continue to develop.

“I’d like to thank Jay Sugarman, Nick Sakiewicz and our magnificent fans for their continued support and I look forward to building towards our future successes together.”

Hackworth began his coaching career with Wake Forest University in 1993 – three years before the launch of MLS, before he was acquired as head coach by the University of South Florida in 1998.

After helping the Bulls to two NCCA tournaments and recording an admirable 47-32-2 record across a successful four year spell, his talents were spotted by US Soccer who installed him as assistant to then-U17 men’s national team Head Coach, John Ellinger.

It was here that Hackworth would develop the skills of a number of current Union players, with seven of the squad later joining Hackworth in residency following his progression to Head Coach of the U17 team in 2004.

With two successive FIFA U17 World Cup appearances in 2005 and 2007 – in which the US topped its group in 2005 and progressed again in 2007, Hackworth was appointed as Assistant Coach to former national team boss Bob Bradley, balancing the position with the role of Technical Director for US Soccer’s player development initiative until his arrival at the Union in 2009.

Hackworth’s first game as permanent team manager will be the Union’s trip to New England Revolution on Saturday, which kicks off at 7:30pm at Gillette Stadium.

“John deserves to become our permanent Team Manager," Union CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said. " His skilled leadership has reinvigorated our players in recent months and there are some very promising signs that we are moving towards a style of soccer that is in-keeping with our respected Union brand.

“It has been a very tough year on the pitch and clearly, we have a long way to go. But most importantly, the principal reason for making this move right now is because John has a plan to move our team forward and toward the upper reaches of Major League Soccer. That stability is important to our whole organization as we look to finish this season strongly and build again for the next."

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