Philadelphia Union Add to Technical Staff

CHESTER, Pa ( December 17, 2009) — After helping the University of Maryland men’s soccer team to seven straight NCAA tournament appearances and two NCAA national championships, Rob Vartughian is graduating to Major League Soccer and Philadelphia Union. Vartughian joins Team Manager Peter Nowak’s Technical Staff, effective immediately, as Assistant Coach/Goalkeeper Coordinator.

“We’re very excited to add Rob Vartughian to our staff,” said Nowak. “We’ve worked together on the Olympic team and I’ve seen how he developed players within the US National Team system. With two young goalkeepers in Chris Seitz, who he’s worked with on the USMNT, and Brad Knighton, I’m very much looking forward to seeing them both develop under Rob’s guidance.”

Just last month, as an assistant at Maryland, Vartughian helped guide the Terrapins to an Elite 8 finish in the NCAA tournament. In his time with Maryland, the versatile Vartughian was instrumental in not only working with the keepers, but was heavily involved with all aspects of the program, from video breakdowns and training session planning to tactical decisions and adjustments on game days.

“Rob is the guy Peter targeted for this role from our earliest discussions and waited patiently for, because he believes as I do that his unique talents for developing young players will benefit our entire program,” said CEO & Co-Owner Nick Sakiewicz. “Having Rob Vartughian on our Technical Staff, guiding the development of goalkeepers especially, but position players as well, from the youth academy level on up through our first team, is a great addition to the Philadelphia Union family.”

Vartughian has guided the careers of young goalkeepers at Maryland for the past seven years with great success. Perhaps the shiniest example of his influence was the development of then freshman Chris Seitz in 2005 who, in the final against the University of New Mexico, stopped a penalty kick to preserve a 1-0 win and an NCAA championship.

Prior to his work at College Park, the former St. Bonaventure and Wake Forest goalkeeper worked as an assistant at Penn, where his keepers earned All-American and All-Ivy accolades as both the Quakers’ men’s and women’s teams won Ivy League titles.

“I’m extremely honored and grateful to Peter, John and Nick for having the faith in me to bring me on board,” offered Vartughian. “My wife and I are really excited to return to the Philadelphia area and are eager to get started. This is an amazing opportunity and I’m really looking forward to becoming a part of the Union family.”

Philadelphia Union will open the 2010 MLS season with their first ever First Kick on March 25 in Seattle vs. Sounders FC in a match televised nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. The club’s home opener will be April 10, as Philadelphia Union hosts D.C. United at Lincoln Financial Field.

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Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, is the Philadelphia Union ownership group. It is comprised of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of iStar Financial Jay Sugarman, CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz, Christopher and Robert Buccini and David Pollin, founding partners of the Buccini Polin Group, Swarthmore Group’s Jim Nevels (Chairman) and Paula Mandle (CEO), and Philadelphia attorney William Doran. For more information about Philadelphia Union, visit

Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. MLS kicked off its 14th season on March 19, and will feature 15 teams each playing 30 regular season matches. They include Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto FC and, in its inaugural season, Seattle Sounders FC. Philadelphia Union will debut as an expansion team in 2010, while expansion teams in Vancouver and Portland will debut in 2011. For more information about MLS, log on to the League’s official website at

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