Nikolov, veteran of the German Bundesliga with over 370 appearances at Eintracht Frankfurt, returns to Philadelphia; Nikolov previously spent two seasons as a coach and one as a player with the Union
CHESTER, Pa. (December 3, 2018) – Philadelphia Union announced today that Oka Nikolov has returned to the club as an Assistant Coach as well as Director of Goalkeeping. Nikolov, a German-born Macedonian, previously served as a Union assistant for two seasons, in 2016 and 2017. He played for the Union as a goalkeeper in 2013, and spent last season as an assistant coach for the LA Galaxy.
“We are excited to welcome Oka home to Philadelphia,” said Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner. “Oka is of course familiar with MLS and the Union. His track record across many years coaching and playing speaks for itself. As Union fans know, he is a Bundesliga legend, and our club is fortunate to have him return.”
“Oka is someone who I respect greatly, and all of our players and staff at the Union will benefit from having him return,” said Union Head Coach Jim Curtin. “I look forward to using his wealth of knowledge in what will be an expanded role as an Assistant Coach. I’d like to welcome him back as we continue our preparation for the 2019 season.”
In his return, Nikolov, 44, will serve in a dual role as a full Assistant Coach as well as the club’s Director of Goalkeeping. As an assistant for Philadelphia previously, he helped Andre Blake develop into a preeminent goalkeeper, capturing the 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award as well as a Best XI campaign that same season.
“I am happy to be back in Philadelphia,” added Nikolov. “Over the years, this has become a second home to me. I love being a part of this club and I am happy to work with the team. I’d like to thank Ernst and Jim and I am excited to get started again.”
As a player, Nikolov spent the bulk of his career at German club Eintracht Frankfurt, including 19 seasons with the senior team, where he appeared in over 370 games. Nikolov was a member of the Union as a player in 2013 before joining the Fort Lauderdale Strikers one season later. Internationally, he appeared in five games for Macedonia, the country of his heritage. In addition to the LA Galaxy, he has also coached at Eintracht as well as the Macedonian National Team and the German Under-19 National Team.