Jim Curtin was named the Philadelphia Union head coach today in a ceremony hosted by Chickie's and Pete's. The press conference was set to be pretty bland, but both Curtin and CEO Nick Sakiewicz addressed the club's transfer structure and Nick Sakiewicz's Grand Global Coaching Search.
Sakiewicz kicked off the announcement by speaking about the Union's youth development system and behind-the-scenes make-up, two topics that have drawn many questions throughout the season. Sakiewicz was adamant about the club's progress from the youth level.
"It's no secret that the Union is making a huge investment in youth development in this region," said Sakiewicz. "We strongly believe that we must have a modern football structure to guide the development of our overall development from the technical side."
Nick Sakiewicz has a long history as a CEO in Major League Soccer, and the public perception at this point is that he is directly involved in the player acquisition process. He set about quelling these rumors.
"[Curtin] will lead our first team in all aspects, and along with his staff, he will be fully responsible for all player identification, recruiting, signings, transfers, and trades," Sakiewicz declared.
The Union CEO faced questions about the club's coaching search, considering that this is the second time they have hired their interim man for the full time job.
"Jim had a front row seat to the interview process...he had an advantage," Sakiewicz explained. "[We received] over 200 CVs from around the world. I've never seen such highly qualified people in a coaching search."
While Sakiewicz spent time talking about the details of the hiring, Curtin took some time to address the composition of his team.
"We'll build with a strong defense...we're not going to be the club that spends $7,000,000 on three Designated Players," Curtin said, in reference to Toronto FC.
Though he leans toward having a more defensive-oriented team, Curtin emphasized that the Union do not have a style of play at the moment.
"Until you have success, you can't have a style of play," Curtin maintained.
Parallels can easily be drawn between the appointments of Jim Curtin and John Hackworth. Both were given the reins mid-season in an interim capacity. Both coaches had success as caretakers, and were handed the full-time jobs despite global coaching searches. These comparisons say more of the Union executives than they do of the managers themselves, but Curtin was displeased nonetheless.
"I resent hearing the comparisons to the interim coach that took over the last time. It's disrespectful to John Hackworth and it's disrespectful to me," Curtin argued. "We're two different people."
Though Curtin pointed out the Union's strong goalscoring record during his tenure, he emphasized the club's need for a striker. Nick Sakiewicz agreed that signings will be made.
"There's going to be lots of announcements over the next three months. Players, staff, structure, forward-thinking. I hope everybody's excited about it."