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New Nowak lawsuit claims MLS ordered his firing

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Author’s note: This post has been updated to include feedback from the MLS league office.

Former Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak has sued Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union, claiming the league ordered the Union to fire Nowak after a complaint by the players union.

Nowak filed suit Thursday in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Philadelphia. He is seeking more than $1 million for being ostracized from MLS and deprived the right to make a living.

Nowak’s suit stems primarily from the following section of the lawsuit:

“During the deposition testimony of Philadelphia Union President and owner, Jay Sugarman, related to the arbitration between the Philadelphia Union and Mr. Nowak … Mr. Sugarman testified that the decision to fire Mr. Nowak was based on a directive from MLS that Nowak be fired as a coach. During the Arbitration hearing conduced in late May of 2014, the Executive Director of the Players Union testified that an investigation of Piotr Nowak was demanded by the Player’s Union in May of 2012 over a disputed training exercise. The Players Union also demanded that Piotr be fired. The termination of Piotr Nowak as coach of the Philadelphia Union was precipitated and directly caused by Major League Soccer and the Major League Soccer Players Association.”

Nowak’s new lawsuit claims he was never notified of this MLS investigation while it took place and didn’t see the investigative report until the arbitration process related to his lawsuit.

The Union fired Nowak, who still maintains a home in Chadds Ford, Pa., in June 2012. He was later accused of abusing players during training and profiting off international transfers of players. Nowak filed a wrongful termination and breach of contract lawsuit against the Union, and that suit later went to arbitration. It remains unresolved.

“We view the case was being without merit and frivolous, and we are disappointed that Peter has taken this action,” MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott said in a written statement.

Bob Foose, the players union director, could not be reached. A Union spokesman declined comment.

Nowak’s replacement, John Hackworth, was fired earlier this week.

To read the full Nowak complaint, click here.


  1. Dan Walsh says:

    Side note for those wondering: Yes, we’ll be running a column on Jim Curtin on Monday. (It would run Saturday or Sunday if not for the fact that our readership is lower on weekends.) I didn’t have time to write it yesterday or today because I’m doing some freelance writing during the World Cup.
    Long story short: No, we do not think Peter Nowak is more important than Jim Curtin. 😉 The above story is a hastily written short.

  2. Has any of Nowaks 1,568 other lawsuits been resolved?

  3. “Deprived the right to make a living”? What, he pulled a George Best and blew all the money he made playing professional football?

  4. I’d love to know what that work out was!

    • John Ling says:

      Agreed – that would be interesting to know. I do recall seeing something (though probably unconfirmed, I don’t recall) about Nowak denying players water breaks during training sessions. I don’t know if this is what it’s about, or something else.

    • He made the team run on a woodland trail with no water breaks. Terrain wasn’t ideal for a professional athlete to run on.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    This guy just won’t go away. Just give him a million, but make him sign something saying he will never EVER use the words “Philadelphia” or “Union” in any capacity EVER AGAIN.
    Kidding about giving him a million. He sucks. He deserves nothing.

  6. This actually makes sense given saks comments about Nowak being his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice.

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