Union fire front office's Gutierrez, Eskandarian
The Union are wiping away any connection to former coach Peter Nowak and cleaning house.
Nearly three weeks since the team parted ways with hardline Nowak on June 13 and replaced him with John Hackworth, the new coach has taken it upon himself and dismissed head of scouting and player development Diego Gutierrez and youth technical director Alecko Eskandarian.
“The bottom line is they are not with the Philadelphia Union anymore,” said Hackworth.
“It was my decision, and I really don’t want to go into the details of it. I have an immense amount of respect for both individuals. We’re going to move forward with our club and try to sort out roles and responsibilities of our staff.”
The Union will not name immediate replacements but will split duties with their current staff, including Hackworth as the team's director of player personnel.
“At the moment we’re sticking with the staff we have,” said Hackworth. “That was one of the choices I had. The work load had to be assumed by our current staff. It’s a challenge for all of us and it isn’t an impossible job for us to do. We have a lot of skill sets within our staff and are confident we can do it. We will need to hire for those positions as we move forward but our most important job is to build and get this team in the right direction.”
The move to fire Gutierrez comes at an interesting time, as on June 26, the Union signed Bakary Soumare out of Europe. Soumare, a center back and former Chicago Fire teammate of Gutierrez, named the Union’s chief scout as the reason for his signing.
But that wasn’t the only get for Gutierrez, a former teammate of Nowak with the Fire in the late 1990s. After joining the Union in 2010 at the selection of Nowak, the Colombian-born former player and agent played a key role in the Union’s flurry into Central America, and was an integral part in loading their roster with talent from countries like Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica.
“Diego has fantastic relationships in those markets and he did an excellent job bringing that in,” Hackworth said. “I have some strong relationships there, too. I think we’re going to be OK in that department. We have to move on.”
Currently, seven of the Union’s 29 players are from Central America, four from Gutierrez’s home country of Colombia. However, Hackworth downplayed the communication gap between him and the Latin players.
“Nothing has changed in our communication,” said Hackworth. “I’m not going to tell you I’m fluid in Espanol but I’ve coached players that exclusively speak Spanish for a long time, and have had no communication problem with them.”
Eskandarian was a former player for Nowak during his time at DC United and joined the Union in the summer of 2011.
The Union, who are 1-2-0 under Hackworth, face the L.A. Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday. E-mail Ryan Bright at firstname.lastname@example.org