As much as Monday's light practice served as a way for many of these all-stars to get acclimated with each other heading into Wednesday's sold-out game against Chelsea at PPL Park in Chester, it was also a morning for Hackworth to spend time with some of the players he has coached through his journey with the U.S. national team and into MLS.
Six of the players have spent extensive time working with Hackworth, none more prominent than Landon Donovan.
"I think he's made it pretty clear to everyone involved with this league that his 'interim' label should be removed," said Donovan, the Los Angeles Galaxy and national team star. "He's done a great job with them. I'm happy to see he's doing well."
The All-Star Game has evolved from a game of East vs. West to one that pits the league's best against a prestigious European club. For the last two years the opponent was Manchester United.
The new format, which began in 2005, adds more competition to what had been a game centered entirely on giving players a fun break.
"It's a lot different than the early days," Donovan said. "Before, if you had a little injury, you'd probably sit out the All-Star Game. Now guys really want to play."
Hackworth will serve as an assistant coach in the game. He has gone 4-2 since taking over the Union in the middle of June, raising their record to 6-10-2.
As he was walking off the field Monday, he had a couple of words with Union captain Carlos Valdes.
"Soak it all in," Valdes said of his converation with his manager. "This is a fun week."
MLS All-Star Game
At PPL Park
MLS vs. Chelsea
at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
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