The Coaching Stylings of Peter Nowak
After the recent Le Toux scandal, Peter Nowak’s coaching styles have come into question. Le Toux said, “ I would be happy to just retire than play for Peter again.” One month ago, if I told you Le Toux would say that about the all-knowing Peter Nowak like that, you’d call him a sacrilege and tell him to confess my sins to The Soccer Gods. But it’s true, Peter is not infallible, in fact, this is not the first time Nowak has gotten a little snappy at a star player. Back in Peter’s days in DC, one Freddy Adu thought he could challenge Peter’s authority, thinking that Peter was in the wrong, the result: Adu was traded to Real Salt Lake. Even though Adu was considered the Future of American Soccer, Nowak traded him and Nick Rimando, another bad move, for Jay Nolly, and guess what, ALLOCATION. Now where have I heard that before?
It seems that history is repeating itself in Philadelphia. With one exception, in Peter’s first year in DC, he led them to an MLS Cup victory. OK, so maybe history isn’t repeating itself, but it seems that maybe the locker room atmosphere isn’t too different. Freddy Adu wanted more money and more playing time, and Nowak thought he was getting greedy and out of line. So Nowak, instead of granting Adu’s wishes, or negotiating to a happy medium, he traded him.
Once again, in Philadelphia, Le Toux wanted a new contract. Reportedly Le Toux wanted 400k, but this was too much for Nowak. Nowak knew that Le Toux’s contract was out at the end of the season, and Le Toux would leave and we would get no compensation for him. So Nowak, being the shrewd businessman that he is, traded Le Toux to Vancouver for a large sum of money.
Now, while both of these deals involved the relocation of star players that could have a team built around them, I don’t have a major problem with either of them. In fact, I think both of these deals were rather clever, especially the Le Toux deal. My only problem is the handling of these deals. Peter Nowak said, “Feelings are not in my job description.” News Flash: YES THEY ARE. Peter, you are a manager, you manage players, players are people. You have to have people skills if you want to be the boss in any business, if you are a boss who does not know how handle your employee’s you’d be fired, right? Well, it’s no different in managing, if you cannot handle your players, you will be fired. Peter has to learn how to play nice with his players if he wants to continue his success.
Now, Nowak has won before, in fact, he had immediate success in DC. I think that the reason Nowak is not having the same success now, aside from us being an expansion team, is that times have changed in those four years that he didn’t coach in the MLS. The league has changed, the fans have changed, and the players have definitely changed. Everything is on a bigger scale now, including the player’s egos. Players feel more entitled now and feel like they should be playing in every game. Now, the veterans don’t seem to have this problem, as they have been around for a while, but Nowak doesn’t like the players who think they are greater than the club. When players start to get greedy, Coach gets mad. Peter thrives off of his authority, and when someone challenges that authority, he views them as a threat to the locker room, and to him. When Adu thought he was too good for Nowak’s advice, he got traded, when Nowak thought Le Toux was disobeying his orders, he got traded. Nowak has made it clear: Do not cross him.
Bottom line: If soccer was played on paper, Peter Nowak would be possibly the best manager in the league. Peter needs to gain some people skills and learn how to manage the young guys, because, right now, the average age of the club is 23, and the majority of our guys will not in the league back in 2006. If Peter doesn’t get with the times quickly, The U may be on the outside looking in come this postseason.