Tag Archives: Nick Sakiewicz

I hit my breaking point

Most of you that have followed me on Twitter, Big Soccer, or Reddit know that I have advised time and patience with the ownership. I repeatedly stated that I was convinced that Hackworth was the issue. With a competent manager, I was convinced this team would finally find its footing.

I was wrong.

This season has been the worst to date. I understand the injuries and suspensions have piled up. We are scrapping the very bottom of this team just to name an 18 for match day. However, this is part of the problem. Why are we paying a keeper $500k instead of investing in-depth?

Ladies and gentlemen, I have had enough. I am officially on the bandwagon calling for this team to be sold.

Nick Sakiewicz

Nick is a popular target for the frustrations of ZOLO fans. I used to defend him, but I just can’t anymore.  His snarky, holier-than-thou comments have done nothing to endear him to the fans.

Look, I will openly admit I defended the Rais signing and was a major apologist of his for month. I thought it was unfair to judge a guy based off one high-profile mistake and that his international form warranted time here. However, the move has not panned out, and Nick needs to take the blame for this. With the money we have invested in Rais, we could have signed a left back, a defensive midfielder, AND a winger. We could have actual depth who could be stepping in right now.

Instead of addressing areas of need, Nick Sak has signed two keepers (Oka Nikolov and Rais MBolhi) in two successive years. Despite this, Nick will never admit he was wrong. Why does he refuse to acknowledge that he made these deals and other deals? Where is his humility and willingness to acknowledge his mistakes?

It’s bigger than Nick

Like I said, Nick is the target of our frustrations and rightfully so. However, these issues go far beyond him. If the owners buy out Nick’s stake tomorrow and let him walk, we still have deep structural issues. Where is the investment and backing the Union needs?

Hell, where is the coaching staff? I pointed out in the off-season that Curtin needed support if they wanted him to succeed. They brought in a goalkeeping coach that was already with the team and members of the youth academy. We are still one of the most understaffed teams in the league. Is it any wonder Curtin is floundering when you fail to provide him the support he needs to flourish?

More importantly, where is the plan for this team? For years now, the team has signed players willy-nilly without a plan of how they will fit into the team. Nogueira was signed as a 10, Maidana as a winger, and Edu as a box-to-box midfielder. None of them play those positions anymore. Vitoria was signed without the foresight that a backline of himself and White would be unable to cope with the speed of this league. It’s mind-boggling how this team never has a plan for how a player will fit into this side.

With that in min, why is there still no general manager for this team? Nick Sak clearly was not doing a good job. Instead, they replace him with Rene Meulensteen as a consultant and Albright in a dual-role as GM and coach. If this team is struggling both on and off the field, why are we not signing someone who can bring a clear plan of action to this team?

Even if Nick leaves tomorrow, we still have a pool of shit to wade through before this team even begins to resemble a decently run club. The owners seem to be happy to settle for cheap investments that turn a profit based off fans who will continue to attend matches whether this team wins or not.

What now?

For those of you who may not know, I have a bit of a background as a political organizer, and I aspire to be a full-time community organizer. I hate sitting and whining, and I always seek a pragmatic reaction to a problem. What can we do then?

Newcastle fans just created a new website – AshleyOut.Com – to promote a sell the team movement. The fans provide facts and quotes with sources to legitimize their complaints and to publicize their movement.

Why not do the same with the Union? There are legitimate concerns with the Union. The team once bailed on paying their taxes. The development plan that was attached to the public funding for the stadium has been all but abandoned. The on the field product has been shit for years despite the fact that this league is becoming more profitable and that this team used to lead the league in merchandise sales. A website of our own would go a long way towards legitimizing our concerns and promoting it to fans on the fence and the soccer media within this country. I know I would open my wallet for it.

Beyond that, several more ideas come to mind. We can always rent a billboard by the stadium or fly a plane banner during a match. We can cause a shit storm on social media to the point where any time the Union is mentioned, we make our discontent known. We can begin chants of “Sell the Team,” organize tifos demanding the ownership sell the team, and stage walkouts. There really is no limit to what we can do so long as people decide to take action.

We need a change. Sitting here and complaining won’t change anything. Taking action will.


Post-Rais M’Bolhi Press Conference Thoughts

Ouch. I feel bad for Rais M’Bolhi.

The new signing was caught in the crossfire as Jim Curtin and Nick Sakiewicz dodged questions about having three starting caliber keepers on the team. At one point, Nick even forgot Rais’s age. The Union F.O. probably should have just issued a press release rather than put on this whole awkward, tense affair.


Let’s look at some interesting tidbits about our new keeper:

  • The iconic USMNT goal Landon scored against Algeria in 2010 was the only goal Rais gave up that tournament.
  • Rais actually fasted during the first half of the Germany game. He kept a back of snacks near his goal to eat during halftime once the sun set.
  • He speaks English, something I wasn’t expecting from a French player. Speaking the two main team languages (English and French) should help him integrate faster.
  • According to Rais, he is good friends with Sporting Kansas City’s Aurelien Collin.
  • He once threw a ball at an opponent’s head after the player tried kicking it out of his hands. Talk about “Philly Tough.”
  • Rais will be wearing the same number as late great Eagle Reggie White (#92).


These two tweets from Taylor Twellman seem to fit the logic of Rais’s signing:

While we are most likely paying Rais a significant amount more than Zac, the difference will become fairly small after the new agreement. Rais seems to be a move made with a raised salary cap in mind.

Worth noting: We drafted Zac in 2011. I’d assume his contract is up soon, and he has earned a significant raise. After that contract, the financial difference between the two players will be much smaller.


The fact that Zac has not been moved yet is troubling. The optimists will tell you that Jim and Nick were intentionally being vague as there is still a deal in the works. The pessimists will tell you there is no plan, and we just killed any trade value Zac had. Both are just speculation at this point, so pick whatever makes the most sense to you. The only certainty at the moment is that Zac’s days in Chester are numbered.

I really wouldn’t start Zac on Friday. It just seems like an awkward situation all around.


Rais was impressed by the facilities here? Chester Park? C’mon, bro.


Taking a step-back, we signed a two-time World Cup veteran who has done very well in both tournaments. He is a significant improvement over the current player we have at the position. Unfortunately, the position is at keeper, the one position you don’t rotate.

I still think this move cannot be judged until we see what we inevitably receive for Zac. If we acquire a veteran in defense or a high draft pick, I think more fans will be happy with this deal. Our good friend allocation money would be useful, but I think fans want to see something more tangible than Garber Bucks. Until Zac is sold, I think it is too early to judge this trade.

Enough about my thoughts. Tell me what you think.  How do you rate this signing, and what the hell do we do with Blake?