Signing News

Oka Nikolov named Union assistant/goalkeeping coach

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union announced on Thursday the addition of Oka Nikolov to the team’s technical staff as assistant coach “with his primary focus on the goalkeepers.”

Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said in a statement, “Oka’s career speaks for itself and we’re extremely confident in his abilities to mentor our young group at that position.Due to his extensive background and organizational familiarity, we know he can immediately come in and make a difference for us. We’re excited to have him on board.”

Nikolov, who had a long career with Eintracht Frankfurt, was signed by the Union as a backup goalkeeper in June of 2013, with then Union manager John Hackworth saying at the time, “We think he will provide excellent depth and mentorship to our young goalkeepers.”

Nikolov was waived by the Union following the 2013 season after failing to make a league appearance. The former Macedonia international then signed with Fort Lauderdale Strikers for the nine-game 2014 spring NASL season, making eight appearances for the club, recording two shutouts.

Retiring from playing after his time in Fort Lauderdale, Nikolov joined the Eintracht Frankfurt Talent Academy as a coach. He is also an assistant coach for the Macedonian National Team.

Nikolov replaces Paulo Grilo as goalkeeping coach. Arriving with Rais Mbolhi as his personal coach, Grilo remained after the Algerian’s departure from the team. The Union announced it had parted ways with Grilo on November 6.


  1. Nothing to hate here. But it does seem like he will be doing double duty on the technical staff.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Undoubtedly. Having both MLS & USL teams practicing together, all the technical staff will be doing double duty at times. Remember descriptions of Joe Pa up on a scaffolding tower at Penn State? I would bet they will at least have a cherry picker truck on site, if not an actual lift truck so that several people can be observing both fields, unless they can use a drone instead somehow.

  2. Interesting.

  3. From the Union announcement:
    “Nikolov spent 22 years at Eintracht Frankfurt, including 19 seasons with the senior team where he appeared in more 370 Bundesliga games, including making a league-record 14 saves in a match against Bayern Munich.”
    Nothing to hate about this at all…

  4. James Lockerbie says:

    Come on Get on the U Train! This is probably what should have happened like 2 seasons ago. He was not ready to retire from playing and the Union brought in “That Guy” who brought with him the last Goalkeeper coach.

    Now, Oka Nikolov was ready to retire from playing and the U train was entering the train station. ALL ABOARD THE U TRAIN!!!!

    Mr. Stewart you don’t know how many chances a Train will pass by sometimes you have to jump on the Train before it passes by.

  5. I expect it will take more than this year for all these changes to show on the field, but all these moves make sense. A complete turn from the Union of old!

  6. The Little Fish says:

    Nice to see more positive news from the team. I cannot wait to start hearing player’s names coming up in rumors and comments from around the world. Losing (a lot) sucks and necessitates rebuilding BUT rebuilding can really be a blast to watch as your team slowly comes together…..not that I want us to need constant reboots but the reconstruction phase, to me, is absolutely a “Thrill Ride.”

  7. Had Nikolav been on staff last season, he likely would have been brought out of retirement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *