CHAD WINGER - Sunday, February 11, 2007
Murphy's Law victim Peter Philipakos has called time on his Greek adventure, agreeing to drop a lawsuit against now-former club Ethnikos in exchange for an unconditional release.
"Peter has agreed to drop his case against Ethnikos for months of unpaid wages in exchange for an immediate release," brother Ted Philipakos told YA. "Ethnikos was a romantic idea. The reality was something else completely."
"It [has been] frustrating, having to constantly deal with issues completely unrelated to soccer. And it's not just Peter - this is the environment. So it's time to change the environment."
"Peter is interested in MLS," Philipakos continued. "With MLS clubs already in preseason, we decided it would serve him best not to waste any more time in Greece."
"Ethnikos had already managed to get the decision delayed once, and more than a month had passed with no result."
The highly-rated 24-year old has suffered a rash of injuries and contract disputes since leaving American University for AEK Athens in January of 2004.
Following a six-month stint in the capital, the youngster joined hated rivals Olympiakos, and later, Aris Saloniki.
Philipakos also turned down a call to the reigning European champions' Under-21 camp in March 2005, holding out in hopes of a call from the United States.
Despite all the turmoil, both player and family say they are taking many positives from the experience and have no regrets.
"The fact is, he spent a year and a half being developed by Dusan Bajevic, hands down the greatest coach in the history of Greek soccer," stated Philipakos. "He has medals from an Olympiakos league and cup winning season."
"He has all the experiences that came from being a part of those teams and those victories and playing with champions like Rivaldo and Giovanni and Predrag Djordjevic. He played in the UEFA Cup against Newcastle United at St. James Park."
"All of this has made Pete a better player, there's no question, so the stuff that happened with Ethnikos doesn't make the experience a total loss - not at all."
Philipakos has already returned to the United States to begin discussions with New York technical director Jeff Agoos, a long-time USMNT defender under Red Bulls head coach Bruce Arena.