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Union CEO Sakiewicz: Curtin 'right man' to coach the team

In assessing his team's failings this season, Nick Sakiewicz all but assures that Jim Curtin will coach the Union next season.

Union interim head coach Jim Curtin. (John Geliebter/USA Today Sports)
Union interim head coach Jim Curtin. (John Geliebter/USA Today Sports)Read more

THERE IS still no scheduled official announcement. That might not occur until after the Union finishes its season at the Columbus Crew on Oct. 26.

But yesterday in a conversation with the Daily News, Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz all but affirmed the widely held belief that interim Union manager Jim Curtin will have that tag removed and keep his job for the 2015 season.

While discussing the current state of the franchise and the disappointment in missing the MLS playoffs for the fourth time in its five seasons, Sakiewicz said he expects that the Union will have a "significant" roster shake-up in the offseason, then added, "You can quote me that Jim Curtin, [assistant coach Mike Sorber] and [technical director/assistant coach] Chris Albright will get all the support and resources they need to bring in the players that they want.

"[Curtin] is the right man. We want to make the playoffs next year, the year after that and the year after that. Our absolute goal is to build a winning franchise."

The only more concrete endorsement of Curtin than that statement would be giving him a contract to sign.

In June, when he took over for the fired John Hackworth, Curtin, an Oreland native and Villanova graduate, who played 175 games in MLS, said: "I know that I am a 34-year-old coach. I have things to learn, but I do think I know what it takes to win in this league, that's for sure."

Despite the Union's collapse against Columbus on Saturday that eliminated the team from the playoff chases, Curtin did turn the team around. The Union advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final this summer, before losing to Seattle Sounders FC.

Sakiewicz made it clear that, just as it has always been with the Union, the technical staff will have the responsibility and authority to put together the roster.

"In soccer, that is how it works," Sakiewicz said. "You hire a manager and let him bring in the players he wants to compete with."

In his midweek news conference yesterday to preview Saturday's home finale against Sporting Kansas City, Curtin urged his players to "finish the season the right way. That's the message to our guys.

"There is an easy way to do it and the wrong way, which is to bail out and feel sorry for yourself and quit on the season. But there are still guys that should be fighting for next season. Play hard for our fans in our last home game at PPL Park."

Union players interested in keeping their jobs for 2015 should heed Curtin's message, because he will be the one putting together that roster.