WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, December 21, 2006) -- D.C. United has scheduled a press conference for today to announce that coach Peter Nowak has stepped down and will be replaced by his top assistant Tom Soehn, The Washington Post reported.
Nowak, who led United to the Major League Soccer championship in 2004, his first season, and to capture the Supporters Shield for the league's best record in the 2006 season, will become an assistant to Bob Bradley, who recently resigned from Chivas USA to become the interim manager of the United States men, as well as coach of the U.S. Olympic team.
Should Bradley, who was as assistant to coach to Bruce Arena at D.C. United in its first two season, 1996 and 1997, not be retained after his five-month "interim" period, he would stay with the Olympic team, Nowak presumably would remain as Bradley's assistant through qualification and, if the U.S. advances, the 2008 Summer Games.
Nowak's contract was set to expire at the end of this month. Negotiations were ongoing and United president Kevin Payne predicted last week that a deal would be reached soon. Whether the team's collapse in the last two months of the recently-completed regular season and failure to reach the MLS Cup title game, not to mention its ugly, first-round elimination from the 2005 playoffs is something only Payne could answer.
Another snag could have come from the impending sale of the team and possible limitations of offering a long-term contract before new ownership took over. That Nowak was not offered a contract extension during the 2006 season led to increasing speculation he would not return.
Nowak was recruited from his native Poland and was a star midfielder for Bradley's Chicago Fire teams from 1998 to 2002, including the league champion in its expansion year of 1998.
Nowak had a 42-27-25 record in three seasons with United and helped rescue the club from persistent failure that followed three championships and four MLS Cup appearances in the league's first four years.
Soehn, 40, was considered for several head coaching jobs last offseason and recently interviewed for vacancies with FC Dallas and Chivas USA. He was an MLS defender for five years before becoming a Chicago assistant and then joining Nowak as an assistant in 2004.