- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2006

First Freddy Adu went, and now Peter Nowak apparently is set to follow.

According to sources close to the team, D.C. United will announce today at a RFK Stadium press conference that Nowak is quitting as the team’s coach after three years and will be replaced by assistant coach Tom Soehn. Nowak’s contract runs out this month.

Other sources close to the team said Nowak will join the U.S. men’s national team as an assistant under interim coach Bob Bradley. U.S. Soccer awarded Bradley the position this month following a six-month search that failed to lure former German coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

U.S. Soccer did not return calls last night.

A United official had confirmed in recent weeks that Nowak’s contract would be renewed. But Bradley’s move to the national team this month appears to have changed matters. Bradley is well acquainted with Nowak, whom he recruited to play for the expansion Chicago Fire in 1998. The former Polish national team star rewarded Bradley by leading the Fire to a victory over United in MLS Cup 1998.

Nowak took over United in 2004, replacing second-year coach Ray Hudson, and found immediate success as United won MLS Cup 2004 over the Kansas City Wizards in his first year.

Nowak also will be remembered for his tenuous relationship with Adu, whom United traded to Real Salt Lake last week. The then-14-year-old joined United in a blaze of media attention just one week after Nowak arrived.

Nowak, a strict disciplinarian from the tough European leagues, did not hide the fact that dealing with the media attention surrounding Adu was a distraction and often was irritated by questions concerning the teenager.

He was criticized in some circles for not handling Adu the right way. But others praised Nowak for not giving in to media pressure to start the youngster.

Although Nowak led United to the title in his first season, the club has disappointed its fans in the playoffs the last two seasons.

A Chicago native, Soehn followed Nowak to the District after three seasons as an assistant coach with the Fire. Soehn also played three seasons at Chicago alongside Nowak, helping Chicago win the MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cups.

It recent months, Soehn has interviewed for jobs as coach of FC Dallas and Chivas USA.

Soehn, 40, will be United’s fifth coach in 12 seasons. He follows Nowak (2004-2006), Hudson (2002-2003), Thomas Rongen (1999-2001) and Bruce Arena (1996-1998).

Soehn inherits a team that this past season went 15-7-10 — the best regular-season record in the league, which earned United a place in the CONCACAF Cup.



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