After firing previous manager Peter Nowak, the Philadelphia Union appointed John Hackworth to the position of interim club manager. On Thursday, the Union’s administration decided that Hackworth should lose the “interm” title and be promoted to full-time team manager.
At age 42, Hackworth has been around soccer for almost 20 years now. Most of this time was spent with the best of the best, as Hackworth was he coach of the US Men’s U-17 National Team. Aside from that, he has coached at Wake Forest and the University of South Florida, leading his team to two NCAA tournaments.
Hackworth was appointed as the assistant coach to the official USMNT, second in command to former national team manager Bob Bradley. In 2009, Hackworth joined the Union in their first year as an expansion team. Since then, he has been the assistant coach and assisted with goalkeepers.
He was appointed on short notice as the interm manager and had to take over a drama-filled, inconsistant team that was 2-7-2 and struggling because of bad trades beforehand. Instead of continuing the trend of terrible play, Hackworth managed to steer the team to a 5-6-2 record, astonishing considering how badly they’d played under Nowak.
In the words of Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz, “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” (via Yahoo!).
In response, Hackworth said, “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” (via PhiladelphiaUnion.com).
In the press conference after losing to the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, Hackworth said that he believes everyone should stop talking about the playoffs. He said he wants to start thinking about next year and the deals he can make to improve his team and make a playoff run in 2013. Until then, we have to wait and see what the new manager plans to do with a talented, but incomplete, team.