The notable names and influence of Union manager John Hackworth's coaching career

Union manager's longtime influence on American soccer

Hackworth coaching at YSC

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

The number continues to rise.

It will likely rise some more.

And then keep trending upward some more.

Who knows what the barometer will eventually be?

That’s the impact Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth has had on young soccer players coming up through the ranks and eventually playing in Major League Soccer. Hackworth has worn so many hats through the years that his presence will certainly reverberate through the league for quite some time.

After all, Hackworth spent two years as an assistant to former U.S. men’s national team head coach Bob Bradley. Hackworth also served as the Development Academy Technical Director in U.S. Soccer’s player development initiative that launched in 2007.

Watch: The Journey of John Hackworth

Before joining the U.S. Men’s National Team, Hackworth spent more than six years with the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. He was the head coach of the ’05 and ’07 U-17 World Cup teams and an assistant coach on the ’03 U-17 World Cup team.

Some of the players he mentored included Michael Bradley, Jonathan Spector, Jozy Altidore and Brek Shea among others. Hackworth also worked with the likes of Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Sheanon Williams, Zac MacMath and Danny Cruz.

Hackworth was a college coach for nine years – four as the head coach of the University of South Florida and five years as the top assistant at Wake Forest.

Get the point?

Now that he’s beginning his first full season as a head coach/manager in MLS, his impact goes way back.

“I think coach Hackworth is so respected by all of us because of how he works, but also because most of us have known him for so long and we respect him,” said Michael Farfan. “He’s very organized and he’s respectful. He knows what he wants to do and he’ll work as hard as possible to get it done.”

Williams echoed similar thoughts.

“I think we all know where we stand with coach Hack and that’s huge,” Williams said. “He talks to us every step of the way and tells us what he expects from us. Communication is very important. Knowing him for as long as I have, I think it’s great to play for him because of that history. I think any player would want to play for him and it’s not a shock to see so many players improve and get to this level because of the work coach Hack put in.”

Just glance at the rosters throughout MLS.

You’ll see Hackworth’s influence across the landscape of the league.

“I have enjoyed every step of the way coaching and working with these players,” Hackworth said recently. “I’ve gotten to know so many of these players on a professional and personal level and from that, you build relationships. I’ve always tried to treat people with respect. As a head coach now, I go about my business the same way.

“It is cool to see so many players who crossed paths with me. It’s a small world. When you get an e-mail or see them in person, it’s very cool. I’m doing what I love and that’s to coach. If a player say they improved because of my help, well, that makes me feel really good.

“My job now is to do the best possible job with the Philadelphia Union and to coach the guys on this club. That’s where all my focus is going to be.”

Hackworth’s first full season will begin March 2 against Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park.

Hackworth player registry

A sampling of notable players coached by John Hackworth that have gone on to the professional ranks







Player Pos Hack coached at... Year(s) Professional Team Last
Estuardo Sanchez F Residency Program 2003 Chivas USA 2008
Jordan Graye D Residency Program 2003 Houston Dynamo 2011
Brian Grazier M U-17 World Cup 2003 Colorado Rapids 2008
Eddie Gaven M U-17 World Cup 2003 Columbus Crew Present
Danny Szetela M U-17 World Cup 2003 DC United 2010
John DiRaimondo M U-17 World Cup 2003 DC United 2009
Jamie Watson F U-17 World Cup 2003 FC Dallas 2008
Corey Ashe M U-17 World Cup 2003 Houston Dynamo Present
Guillermo Gonzalez M U-17 World Cup 2003 Los Angeles Galaxy 2006
Julian Valentin D U-17 World Cup 2003 Los Angeles Galaxy 2009
Kyle Helton D U-17 World Cup 2003 New England Revolution 2008
Freddy Adu M U-17 World Cup 2003 Philadelphia Union Present
Steven Curfman D U-17 World Cup 2003 Real Salt Lake 2007
Jacob Peterson F U-17 World Cup 2003 Sporting Kansas City Present
Michael Harrington F U-17 World Cup 2003 Sporting Kansas City Present
Hector Jimenez M Residency Program 2005 Los Angeles Galaxy Present
David Arvizu F U-17 World Cup 2005 Chivas USA 2007
Brian Perk G U-17 World Cup 2005 Los Angeles Galaxy Present
Kyle Nakazawa M U-17 World Cup 2005 Los Angeles Galaxy Present
Omar Gonzalez F U-17 World Cup 2005 Los Angeles Galaxy Present
Amaechi Igwe D U-17 World Cup 2005 New England Revolution 2009
Kevin Alston D U-17 World Cup 2005 New England Revolution Present
Jozy Altidore F U-17 World Cup 2005 New York Red Bulls 2008
Gabriel Farfan M U-17 World Cup 2005 Philadelphia Union Present
Michael Farfan M U-17 World Cup 2005 Philadelphia Union Present
Quavas Kirk F U-17 World Cup 2005 Portland Timbers 2010
Blake Wagner D U-17 World Cup 2005 Real Salt Lake 2011
Nikolas Besagno M U-17 World Cup 2005 Real Salt Lake 2008
Jeremy Hall M U-17 World Cup 2005 Toronto FC Present
Zarek Valentin D Residency Program 2006 Montreal Impact Present
Joe Bendik G Residency Program 2006 Portland Timbers Present
Alex Dixon F Residency Program 2007 Houston Dynamo Present
Amobi Okugo M Residency Program 2007 Philadelphia Union Present
Chris Klute D U-17 World Cup 2007 Colorado Rapids 2012
Kirk Urso (Deceased) M U-17 World Cup 2007 Columbus Crew 2012
Brek Shea M U-17 World Cup 2007 FC Dallas Present
Josh Lambo G U-17 World Cup 2007 FC Dallas 2011
Kofi Sarkodie D U-17 World Cup 2007 Houston Dynamo Present
Tommy Meyer D U-17 World Cup 2007 Los Angeles Galaxy Present
Danny Cruz F U-17 World Cup 2007 Philadelphia Union Present
Sheanon Williams D U-17 World Cup 2007 Philadelphia Union Present
Zac MacMath G U-17 World Cup 2007 Philadelphia Union Present
Alex Nimo F U-17 World Cup 2007 Portland Timbers 2010
Ellis McLoughlin F U-17 World Cup 2007 San Jose Earthquakes 2012
Fuad Ibrahim F U-17 World Cup 2007 Toronto FC 2010
Robbie Rogers F Residency Program 2002-2003 Columbus Crew 2011
Chase Wileman M Residency Program 2002-2003 FC Dallas 2008
Christian Jimenez M Residency Program 2002-2004 Real Salt Lake 2007
Tim Ward D Residency Program 2002-2004 San Jose Earthquakes Present
Nathan Sturgis M Residency Program 2003-2004 Houston Dynamo Present
Dax McCarty M Residency Program 2003-2004 New York Red Bulls Present
Adam Sloustcher   Residency Program 2003-2004 San Jose Earthquakes 2008
Evan Newton G Residency Program 2003-2005 San Jose Earthquakes Present
Tony Ampaipitakwong M Residency Program 2003-2005 San Jose Earthquakes 2012
Eric Avila M Residency Program 2003-2005 Toronto FC Present
Carlos Borja D Residency Program 2004-2005 Chivas USA 2010
Eddie Ababio D Residency Program 2004-2005 Colorado Rapids 2012
Michael Stephens M Residency Program 2004-2005 Los Angeles Galaxy Present
Bryan Arguez M Residency Program 2004-2005 Montreal Impact 2012
Anthony Wallace M Residency Program 2004-2006 Colorado Rapids Present
Peri Marosevic F Residency Program 2004-2006 Toronto FC 2011
Kyle Davies D Residency Program 2005-2006 Toronto FC 2011
Israel Sesay F Residency Program 2006-2007 Los Angeles Galaxy 2010
Jack McInerney F Residency Program 2007-2009 Philadelphia Union Present
Charles Renken M Residency Program 2007-2009 Portland Timbers Present

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com