Union fire assistant coach and technical director Rob Vartughian

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union have fired assistant coach and technical director Rob Vartughian, the team announced Wednesday.

Vartughian, a native of North Brunswick, N.J., had been with the team since its inaugural 2010 season as a goalkeepers coach. He assumed the additional job of technical director in 2012. Prior to joining the Union, he had coached goalkeepers at the University of Maryland, and he drew the task of grooming former Maryland goalkeepers for the Union starting lineup: Chris Seitz in 2010 and Zac MacMath, the current starter.

Vartughian’s dismissal comes just a day after the Union announced that manager John Hackworth had been dismissed from his job.

“We thank Rob for all of his contributions over the past five years with this club and wish him nothing but the best,” Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said in a written statement.

The move thins out the Union’s coaching staff considerably, leaving the team with interim head coach Jim Curtin, assistant Mike Sorber, and assistant technical director and coach Chris Albright.


  1. that is a tiny coaching staff. they are going to be worked to the bone unless we’re closer to hackworth’s replacement arriving than we had thought. also, no goalkeeping coach now. maybe they will hire pappas

    • james lockerbie says:

      Hopefully he is a better keeper coach then commentator. On robs departure not surprised it’s all part of cleaning house

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    De Ja Vu all over again, following the same playbook from the Novak departure.

  3. Why wait a day?

  4. I think Hackworth would have been much better served with someone with more experience in the technical director position. He never really had someone on the bench with him that had experience to help with the in-game decisions that were Hackworth’s downfall.

  5. Albright moves up the ranks…the grooming begins.

    • james lockerbie says:

      Albright and Curtin are about the same age? How can Curtin mentor Albright? Or maybe it will be a case of the dynamic duo! Two unknowns working together to pull off an amazing miricale

      • It won’t – and shouldn’t – be so much that Curtin is grooming Albright to coach.I don’t really like the idea of the technical director having two titles – that and assistant coach. If they promote Albright, or bring someone else in, their #1 priority should be technical director, and coaching should come second. I have no proof to support this, but it seemed to me like Vartughian was split between the two roles, and didn’t really put 100% in either.

      • “Never half-ass two jobs, whole-ass one job” – Ron Swanson

      • Albright and Curtin have played together since about age 12/13 under Larry Sullivan in ODP, then DiSalvo/ Jimmy Andrews,/Bobby D at Council Rock Dynamo as the #2 club in country. Albright went to UVA (as the number 2 forward in the country behind Ryan Trout, also from Philly/Dynamo/Strath Haven). Curtin went to Nova to play for Sullivan.
        They’ve been pretty darn close for long time and both have played under some the best coaches in the US at the time.
        Pretty sure they will work off of each other and they both have great tactical knowledge of the game.

      • Dick Buttlewein says:

        Great info. Thanks for that.

  6. The Chopper says:

    As I suggested in another thread, this would be a fine time to add Brian Carroll to the coaching staff. We have to pay him for the remainder of the year, and we certainly don’t need to play him.

    Not sure who the next goalkeeping coach will be,but i would not be surprised if the change in coach means a change at the keeper position.

  7. Am I correct in thinking that puts an end to the Nowak regime? His reign can no longer haunt this franchise, correct?

    “This room is clean”

    • Haha – oh you forgot about the grand master, Pinhead (I know, different movie) – Mr. Sak.
      This house will never be clean with him. He’s like Jerry Jones without the money or ambition…so…yeah.

  8. Murphthesurf says:

    Why add BC to the coaching staff?
    So he can teach players to make sideways and back passes?

    We Demand Real Coaches, with Real Experience!

    It will be the only way to attract World Class Players, period.

    • Scottymac says:


      THough this would fly in the face of the narrative about local guys who played at FC Delco or other tripe.

  9. After he was passed over for Curtin, this was a foregone conclusion.

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