Oka Nikolov, a German born goalkeeper that played for the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt is a legend in Germany. His professional career spanned 21 years, beginning in 1992 and he played with and against Germany’s best, including current USA Soccer coach and soccer great Jurgen Klinsmann. Affectionately referred to as “The Eternal Oka” by the Frankfurt faithful, he is revered throughout Germany for his skill, loyalty, and down-to-earth character.
Nikolov moved from Germany to join the Philadelphia Union in 2013 and then played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers last season, where he featured in eight matches. His main role, however, was mainly to guide up-and-coming goalies in the United States. Upon his retirement as a player, Nikolov continued his role as a coach and mentor and was immediately hired as an assistant coach for the Macedonian National Team, the nation of his heritage and one he represented internationally. Nikolov, 41, is currently coaching the JFC Frankfurt and also working within the Eintracht Frankfurt talent academy.
Now, Nikolov is prepared to take the next step and coach a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.
“The MLS is a great league and the level of play is getting better every year. Players in Germany have taken notice and want to play in the United States, including young talents that view the MLS as a great place to develop and realize their potential in this sport,” said Nikolov.
When asked what type of team he would prefer coaching, Nikolov saw benefits in both established and expansion teams: “Traditional teams like the Chicago Fire and Colorado Rapids have a good infrastructure and fan base. I played for a ‘traditional club’ in Frankfurt for my entire Bundesliga career, so I know the advantages to having that type of support. However, building a new team from the ground up has its appeal too.” He added “There are benefits to both, and challenges that I look forward to in both settings.”
With the expansion of the MLS and its growing popularity in the USA, a coach like Oka Nikolov, who has deep roots in the German soccer scene, could benefit both the MLS and emerging talents in the USA. His character, experience, and knowledge of the game would be a valuable asset. Let’s hope we see him on the sidelines of an MLS game soon!
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