Nowak hesitant to designate team leader

Team leaders aren’t normally designated. They usually emerge.

When you’re building a team from scratch, it can take a little longer.

But Philadelphia Union Team Manager Peter Nowak takes a different approach about leadership. As the club continues to train in Guadalajara, Mexico, Nowak was asked if a player or two had stepped forward.

His answer was not surprising.

“I’ve always said this about my philosophy for a soccer team,” Nowak said. “This is not the Tour de France. You can’t have one guy just put on the yellow jersey and be the leader. I’ve always said that team strength is the important thing. Having a team mentality is important.

“On any given day, any one of our guys can be a leader. It could be Danny Califf, Fred, Stefani Miglioranzi … any one of them or anyone else. Putting rules on who should be a leader just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The club is coming together every single day, and that does make sense to Nowak.

“We’re very happy with the work we’ve done in Mexico,” he said. “Overall progress is good with the players. The staff and the players … we all realize we have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.”

One player who has made incredible progress is former Temple University star JT Noone.

On Sunday, Noone scored a goal as Philadelphia Union and Chivas De Guadalajara played to a 2-2 tie in an exhibition match. On Tuesday against Universidad de Guadalajara, he registered an assist setting up Fred for the match's lone goal.

“He’s been with us since Greensboro,” Nowak said. “We took him to Mexico and he’s been doing very well here. Everybody is very happy with him.”

Philadelphia Union will return home briefly beginning Friday before traveling to Tampa, Fla. to continue their training.

On Sunday, March 14, Philadelphia Union will meet MLS Western Conference foe FC Dallas with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. at the University of Tampa’s Pepin Stadium. Five nights later, on March 19, the club will again take to the pitch at Pepin Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Six days after that on March 25, Philadelphia Union’s inaugural First Kick will take place at Qwest Field against Seattle Sounders FC.