Peter Nowak

MLS remembers Pope John Paul II

Major League Soccer held a moment of silence in remembrance of Pope John Paul II at each of the six Saturday games which opened the 2005 regular season.

First Kick 2005 between D.C. United and Chivas USA was the first sporting event in the country to get underway directly following the announcement of the Pope's passing (the game was moved from ABC to ESPN due to the breaking news coverage).

D.C. United Head Coach Peter Nowak wore a black armband on his left arm in remembrance of his fellow countryman, who was born in Wadowice, Poland. The Pope was an avid soccer fan and played goalkeeper while growing up as Karol Wojtyla in Poland.

"It's a sweet victory, but it's a bittersweet victory because a great person passed away," said the former Polish National Team captain to the Washington Post after his team's 2-0 win over expansion team Chivas USA.

Other soccer leagues around the world also paid respect to the Pope with Italy's Serie A and the Mexican first division postponing the soccer matches scheduled for Sunday.

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