Peter Nowak

Nowak receives highest Polish honor

the largest in the world apart from Warsaw. Nowak quickly became a favorite of fans throughout the league and led the Fire to an MLS Cup title in 1998 and U.S. Open Cup titles in 2000 and 2001.

After retiring as a player in 2002, Nowak moved into the world of coaching and again found success. In 2004, his first year in charge of D.C. United, he led the club to its record fourth MLS Cup championship. Between his stints as a player and coach, Nowak served as the Fire's Director of International Relations and Soccer and Business Adviser, working with the coaching staff, youth player development, community relations, broadcasting and marketing.

Last month, Nowak, who was named an MLS All-Star three times and also won a spot on the MLS Best XI three times, earned another honor by being placed on the ballot of 53 players eligible for induction into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. Nowak, the MVP of MLS Cup 1998, became the first inductee into the Fire's "Ring of Fire" in 2003.

Jason Halpin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.