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Califf, Nowak put it behind them. Dealing with Williams call-up, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Danny Califf and Peter Nowak were at Wednesday’s press conference to put the Califf Controversy to bed.

Said Califf, “We had a good talk yesterday. I think we resolved some issues, so I think things are going to be much better going forward. It was a good, constructive talk. We were both able to get things off our chest, so we’ll move forward in a positive way.”

He added, “There were some issues he had and some issues I had. The big thing was that we kind of talked through some things and gave him a report of where I was at, and he gave me a report of what he thought and what his perceptions were. We were able to put it behind us.”

Nowak said, “We did have a conversation and it was very helpful and humble. Communication is very important on both sides and I acknowledge that. Not just for me but for every coach. With that said, as a coach you have to make a decision on who is playing and that’s what happened here.”

Nowak explained further, “You have 28 guys in the locker room, and in some capacity, you’ve got to make a decision on who is playing on the weekend,” and I think every Union fan would agree that Nowak is the person to make those decisions, even it not everyone agrees with those decisions. Nowak continued, “It’s difficult for any of us to explain to the other 17 guys, having chats about why this happened or why you’re not playing or why you’re playing,” something that I think Union fans again can understand and sympathize with. What may be troubling, however, is that Nowak then said, “I would say that putting out the lineup and putting out the reserves is communication with the team.” Yes, it is communication with the team. But it is not the kind of communication that the captain of the team, the man selected by the coach to help lead the team, a man deeply respected by the fans, either deserves or should expect. Moving on…

Whether Califf will play on Saturday in Chicago is not yet known. Califf said, “Certainly, I’ll be there and be ready to go if need be or whatever. You always want to play. I always want to play. We’ll have to see how this week shakes out.”

Nowak said, “I don’t know,” but added, “I think Danny is back in the mix. We still have a couple of days to see where we are with fitness. Of course, Chris [Albright] is an option as well.”

Nowak went on to make clear that he is first of all concerned with Califf’s long-term availability. “I think we’ll find a good formula to assess the whole thing with our trainers, with our strength and conditioning coach and we’ll try to prepare Danny for another 32 weeks. I think right now he understands the whole concept of that and it shouldn’t be a problem going forward.”

The question of whether Califf will play on Saturday underscores questions about the defense following Sheanon Williams’ call-up to the U-23 team ahead of today’s start of the Olympic qualifying tournament. Nowak said, “Everybody was caught by surprise.” Saying that he had earlier received assurances from Caleb Porter that Williams would not be required, Nowak continued, “I believe they have better options at right back.” A former Olympic coach himself, Nowak said not releasing Williams would have been “impossible.” Nevertheless, he said Williams’ departure is “a drastic change,” adding, “It’s great for our guys but it drastically changes our whole plan. We still have a couple days to finish preparations for the game.”

In addition to Albright, Nowak discussed the option of using Raymon Gaddis. “He’s doing well in training he’s making great progress. The speed of the game (mentally) and the tactical part is still what he’s working on. He’s a tough defender, he can run the line very well, but sometimes things can get fast and we don’t know how he’ll respond.”

Nowak added, “You don’t know how the game will affect him, but he’s making great progress. Gabriel Farfan got hurt at the end of the Thursday or Friday practice [last week], but he’s coming back as well.”

In the event, Nowak said that against Chicago, “We’re going to stay compact and cover all those speedy guys and see things before they’re happening. We have a good understanding and a good structure like with Omar Cummings in the last game against Colorado.”

The 700 Level says that the honeymoon between the Union and its fans is over, and that’s not a bad thing. “The Eagles are cheap and disloyal. The Phillies and Flyers hide injuries. The Sixers started Jodie Meeks for the majority of the season. We deal with these issues year round. Now the Union gets to join the fun.”

Philly Union Talk breaks down the Califf Controversy and concludes, “That said, our coach—for all his creativity and audacity—has made his priorities clear.  He’s gonna do what he’s gonna do, players, fans, and godforsaken media be damned…The silver lining to all this is that…Peter Nowak has left himself exactly ONE way to redeem his legacy—cups.”

Unholy Union wonders if it is too early to ask for Nowak’s head.

Chase Harrison says, “My role on the team is to support Zac. But if the opportunity comes up because of an injury or something else and I need to be called upon, I feel like through the experiences I’ve had over the past six years I’d be prepared.”

The latest MLS Rising Star Profile at Soccer America is on Michael Farfan.

The Union have announced that JP Dellacamera will be joined by Bob Rigby in the broadcast booth. Tony Limarzi will host the radio broadcasts of matches on 610WIP, of which there will be “12-17 games towards the middle to end of the season.” Daily News beat reporter Kerith Gabriel joins Amy Fadool and Rigby on the State of the Union. Ives Galarcep will contribute a segment to the new weekly radio show “The 90th Minute,” hosted by Gabriel and Carl Cherkin.

The Pitch Pass podcast asks Jonathan Tannenwald and Taylor Twellman if the Union are in crisis.

The Union comes in last in a SBI poll about which struggling East Conference team is most likely to turn things around.

The Union join New York and Chivas USA in ProSoccerTalk.com’s new weekly “MLS Panic Quotient” column. The panic quotient? “Your test results are in. The doctor would like to see you immediately.”

The 33 fouls committed in Sunday’s home opener was the highest total in the league for last weekend’s games.


The US U-23s begin their Olympic qualifying campaign tonight at 9pm when they face Cuba in Nashville. Here’s how you can watch the game:

Freddy Adu says of the U-23 team, “[W]e’re pretty confident in our team, in our system. As you saw against Mexico, we executed pretty well. Going into these games, I know some of the teams may sit back, so obviously we’re going to have to be patient and stick to our plan and we’ll be OK. Because we definitely have the individual talent to take us to the next level.

Soccer America looks at the similarities between Porters squad and the one selected by Peter Nowak in 2008.

SI previews the US team’s tournament.

Goal.com looks at “Caleb Porter soccer,” the tactical system employed by the Men’s Olympic team “predicated on constant attacking, ball circulation and effective spacing” that it describes as “an attacking, entertaining brand that’s favored by many players and is endearing to fans.”

Will Kuhns says the large number of MLS players on the Men’s Olympic qualifiers’ roster speaks to the continuing development of the league.

The 23-player USWNT roster for the upcoming Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup against Japan and Brazil has been announced. No surprises here.

The USWNT is close to announcing a friendly at the end of May as well as a send-off friendly before they head to the Olympics.


Here’s a look at the “Show Racism the Red Card” campaign being organized by supporters groups across the league. Sons of Ben, Union, are we going to get in on this?

According to Elias Sports Bureau, 90.3 percent of MLS teams that win the first two games of the season make the playoffs. No word on what happens to teams that lose the first two games.

Valencia will play exhibition games against Portland and Houston in May.

Women’s Pro Soccer

WPSL commissioner Jerry Zanelli describes the motivation behind the founding of the WPSL Elite League and the long-term goals for the league. Zaneli says he believes affiliating with men’s teams detracts from the women’s game, “Because every time you go to a meeting, whether it’s U.S. Soccer, USASA, USL, 99 percent of the time is spent on the men’s game. The female side of the game is always last on the agenda and gets very little attention. It is not right.”

SoccerNation.com reviews at developments in the WPSL and W-League since the cancellation of the 2012 WPS season. Along the way is an interview with Hope Solo about why she chose to join Seattle Sounders Women.

Former Philadelphia Independence defender Lauren Barnes has joined UC Riverside as an assistant coach.

Former Philadelphia Independence defender Katherine Reynolds is among six new signings with Western New York Flash


FIFA and UEFA have signed an agreement with Europe’s most powerful clubs that will be in effect through 2018 that covers insurance, an increased share of revenue from the Euros, greater participation in all decisions related to club football, and revision of the international calendar.

The Shin Guardian breaks down the cesspits of corruption that are behind Brazil 2014.

What the heck happened in that Villareal v Real Madrid match?

Carlos Tevez returned to City and produced a gorgeous assist.

Thierry Henry flew to London to pay his former teammate, Fabrice Muamba, a one hour visit. Henry tweeted, “Fabrice is in a stable condition and can talk perfectly.”

Here are two very compelling video interviews concerning the Muamba, one from the Bolton team doctor who describes the efforts to revive him and the other from the cardiologist/Spurs fan who ran on to the pitch to assist.


  1. I think Sheanon Williams going with the U-23’s had a lot to do with Nowak’s decision to bury the hatchet.

    Just a hunch.

  2. He is going to use the excuse that there are 28 people on the team to NOT communicate with the captain?!?!?!?! Do not even get me started with Chris Albright over Califf…..

  3. For fans with Verizon FIOS TV – Mun2 is on Channel 275 – and you don’t need any special package to get it.

  4. MikeRSoccer says:

    Williams leaving is a blessing in disguise. Nowaks comments suggests to me that he was going to try Williams at rm again. Without him hopefully that plan is taken out back with Toni Stahl and Migz.

  5. So I guess we’ll be needing a new captain come the transfer window?

  6. Brilliant interview with the cardiologist/Spurs fan who ran onto the pitch (turned out he did a lot more than just running onto the pitch..). Hope one of the Union fans would do the same if something like that happened at PPL.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Both of those interviews blew my mind when I first listened to them yesterday. The whole thing is just an incredible story and the signs of Muamba’s recovery are wonderfully encouraging.

    • Agree completely with what you said. I do not know if you saw the video of when it actually happened but about 2 mins in to when Muamba when down the fans started chanting his name which also, along with the interviews gave me chills. It is completely amazing Muamba recovered so quickly, just mind blowing how fast he recovered. I wish him the best of recoveries.

      • Ed Farnsworth says:

        I had the game on at the bar I work at on weekends but was dealing with green-wearing craziness when it happened. When I looked up they were just showing crowd shots, had no idea what had happened at first. When I got home a few hours later I read about the fans singing his name and almost lost it. What a story.

  7. T of the U says:

    One thing that jumped out at me from the Nowak interview regarding Williams call up is that he managed to get a dig in on Sheanon! He says, “I believe they have better options at right back.” Shouldn’t he be behind his players 100%?

    I mean, I know he thinks Sheanon is a RM all of the sudden, but Sheanon’s built a name for himself playing RB and is regarded as one of the better RBs in MLS.

    • I thought I read that quote wrong the first time and had to re-read it twice before confirming that Nowak actually said that. I totally agree with your sentiment, it pisses me off that he would even say and frankly if I was Williams I would demand an explanation of that.

      I am doing my best to try and stay with Novak over all the BS he has pulled lately, but it seems every time he talks he does something else that either makes no sense or is demeaning in some way.

  8. I agree with MikeR. Nowak has taken the Williams thing way too far already and a game or two without him may ground the boss into playing a more traditional formation. Nowak sees things like Williams ability to go forward and Gomez ability to do many things and goes too far with it. Just let the do those things naturally without putting them in a position where they MUST do those things or put us in a bad spot.

  9. I wonder how at Nowak will/would go. I mean something dumb like playing Williams at RW is immeasurably stupid, especially for a young player with such a future. I wonder how much damage he is willing to create.

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