Nikola Popovic (football coach)

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Nikola Popovic
Personal information
Date of birth 28 October, 1973
Place of birth Belgrade, Serbia
Teams managed
Years Team
2005–2006 C.D. Olivais e Moscavide (intern)
2006–2007 C.D. Olivais e Moscavide (assistant)
2007 OFC Vihren Sandanski (assistant)
2007–2010 Varzim S.C.
2011–2012 Al Dhafra FC (assistant)
2012–2014 Sertanense F.C.
2014–2015 Aspire Academy
2015–2016 S.L. Benfica B (assistant)
2016 Swope Park Rangers (assistant)
2017 Swope Park Rangers
2017– Ottawa Fury

Nikola Popovic is a football head coach. Popovic is known for a very attractive and effective style of play based on possession and high pressure. A UEFA Pro licensed coach (Portuguese Football Federation)– the highest UEFA license available – Popovic has coached in eight countries, speaks four languages (Serbian, Portuguese, English and Spanish).

Coaching career[edit]

Born in Belgrade, Popovic was raised in Lisbon, Portugal where he began his career with CD Olivais e Moscavide in the Segunda Divisão. Following the 2006–07 season, Popovic moved to FC Vihren Sandanski in the Bulgarian A Football Group. Returned to Portugal to Segunda Liga side Varzim SC, where he won the Liga Intercalar.

Popovic enjoyed a stint as an assistant coach with the Cape Verde national team in 2010, before joining Spanish Segunda Division B side AD Ceuta helping guide the club to the Copa Del Rey Round of 32 – the club’s best ever showing in the tournament falling to eventual runners-up, Barcelona. Later that same season, Popovic linked up with Bulgarian side Chernomorets Burgas in the Bulgarian A Football Group, helping the side to a quarterfinal appearance in the Bulgarian Cup.

He then moved to the United Arab Emirates joining Al Dahfra for the 2011–12 season as an assistant to Baltemar BritoJose Mourinho’s former assistant coach – helping them win the Vice President Cup. Popovic then took charge of Sertanense FC in the Portuguese Second Division – his first head coaching role in 2012–13. He then joined Qatar’s Aspire Academy in 2014, before returning to Portugal and Benfica B in 2015.

In 2016 goes to Swope Park Rangers, USL Championship, and reaches 4 consecutive finals winning 2 titles.

In 2018 goes to Ottawa Fury FC, reaches for the Semi-Final of the Canadian Cup and receives the USL Championship Coach of the Month.

In 2019 to date, manages to have the most successful start of the season in Ottawa Fury FC and qualify for the playoffs for the first time in history. In the Canadian Cup the Team also reached the Semi-finals.

Coaching internships[edit]

Popovic has also done internships with Inter Milan (2012–13), Portugal Under-21s (2013) and Serbia and Montenegro Under-21s (2006).

Head coach[edit]

Swope Park Rangers[edit]

Popovic was head coach of Swope Park Rangers for the 2017 season.

After one season as United Soccer League side Swope Park Rangers as an assistant coach [1] in 2016, Popovic was named as the head coach of the side on 21 November 2016.[1] During his first season with Swope Park Rangers, Popovic helped the side win the Western Conference Championship and eventually reaching the league final for the second season in a row.[2] The team performed a very attractive style of football based on possession and high pressure (dominated the stats of USL 2017 in Possession and Passing Accuracy).

Ottawa Fury FC[edit]

On 21 December 2017, it was announced that Popovic would take over as head coach of the Ottawa Fury of the United Soccer League.[3][4] In May 2018 wins award of USL Coach of the month and reached the semi-finals in the Canadian Championship.

In 2019, Popovic brings his very attractive and effective style of football based on possession and high pressure. He achieves the best season in Ottawa Fury FC history, best start ever of all time, most goals scored in history, most points in Franchise History, achieved the USL Playoffs for the first time in Franchise History, semi-finals in the Canadian Championship and nominated front runner for USL Coach of the Year 2019 award.


Popovic holds dual Portuguese and Serbian citizenship. He speaks Portuguese, English, Serbian, Spanish and has a good understanding of Italian and French.

Popovic is often invited by Portuguese sports and news television channels to comment and analyze national and internationals soccer matches.

Coaching History[edit]

Club League Period
Assistant coach C.D. Olivais e Moscavide Segunda Divisão 2006–07
Assistant coach Vihren Sandanski Bulgarian A Football Group 2007–08
Assistant coach Varzim Segunda Liga 2007–09
Assistant coach Cape Verde national team 2009
Assistant coach AD Ceuta Segunda Division B 2009–10
Assistant coach PSFC Chernomoretz Bourgas Bulgarian A Football Group 2010–11
Assistant coach Al Dhafra UAE Arabian Gulf League 2011–12
Technical Assessor Sport Lisboa e Benfica 2012–13
Head Coach Sertanense FC Campeonato de Portugal 2013–14
Head Coach Aspire Academy, Qatar 2014–15
Assistant Coach Sport Lisboa e Benfica B LigaPro 2015–16
Head coach Swope Park Rangers USL 2017
Head coach Ottawa Fury FC USL 2018–


Honour Club Date
Liga Intercalar Cup Champion VARZIM S.C. 2007–08
UAE Vice-President Cup Champion Al Dhafra 2011–12
2016 USL Western Conference Champion Swope Park Rangers 2016
2016 USL Cup Finalist Swope Park Rangers 2016
2017 USL Western Conference Champion Swope Park Rangers 2017
2017 USL Cup Finalist Swope Park Rangers 2017
USL Coach of the Month – May Ottawa Fury FC May 2018


Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 18 May 2018
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
United States Swope Park Rangers 21 November 2016 17 November 2017 36 20 7 9 055.56
Canada Ottawa Fury 21 December 2017 Present 37 15 16 6 040.54
Total 73 35 23 15 047.95


  1. ^ a b Bergabo, Patrick (21 November 2016). "Nikola Popovic introduced as Swope Park Rangers head coach". Sporting Kansas City. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  2. ^ Kovsan, Sam (17 November 2017). "Swope Park Rangers and head coach Nikola Popovic mutually agree to part ways". Sporting Kansas City. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Julian De Guzman Appointed Fury Fc General Manager; Nikola Popovic Named Head Coach". Ottawa Fury. 21 December 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  4. ^ FC, Ottawa Fury (13 June 2018). "Popovic named Coach of the Month for May in USL". Ottawa Fury. Retrieved 27 July 2018.

External Links[edit]