Oka Nikolov

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Oka Nikolov
Personal information
Full name Orhej Nikolov
Date of birth (1974-05-25) 25 May 1974 (age 42)
Place of birth Erbach im Odenwald, West Germany
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1981–1989 SG Sandbach
1989–1991 Darmstadt 98
1991–1993 Eintracht Frankfurt
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1996 Eintracht Frankfurt II 73 (0)
1995–2013 Eintracht Frankfurt 379 (0)
2013 Philadelphia Union 0 (0)
2014 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 8 (0)
Total 460 (0)
National team
1998–2001 Macedonia 5 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Orhej "Oka" Nikolov (German pronun­cia­tion: [ˈɔʁhɛɪ ˈɔkaː ˈniːkolɔf]; Macedonian: Орхеј "Ока" Николов [ˈɔrxɛj ˈɔka niˈkɔɫɔf]; born 25 May 1974) is a Macedonian German retired professional football goalkeeper who currently serves as Assistant Coach for the Philadelphia Union in the MLS (Major League Soccer). He spent nineteen seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt, appearing in 413 official games over the course of 13 Bundesliga seasons (19 overall).[1][2] Nikolov is currently represented by Naples (Florida) based Sports Agent Andreas Kunz.

Club career[edit]

Born Erbach im Odenwald, Hessen, West Germany, Nikolov grew up in Sandbach in Hessen, starting playing football with local SG Sandbach. At nearly 17 he joined Eintracht Frankfurt's youth system, going on to remain with the club until his retirement.

Nikolov started his senior career as backup, first to Uli Stein and then Andreas Köpke. After the latter left the team in June 1996 following the team's relegation from the Bundesliga he became first-choice, losing that status in early 2002 to newly-signed Dirk Heinen; he made his debut in the top division on 9 September 1995, playing the full 90 minutes in a 3–1 home win against 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

In the following years Nikolov was relatively played in every season, being an undisputed starter in five of those but only appearing once in the 2004–05 campaign as the Eagles achieved promotion from the second division, playing second-fiddle to Markus Pröll. In February 2007, after Pröll relapsed from his rib injury, he was reinstated by manager Friedhelm Funkel, contributing with 20 games to the team's permanence in the top level.

In January 2010, it was announced that the 35-year-old Nikolov would not renew his contract with Eintracht that was due to expire in the summer, but he eventually signed a new deal until 2012, and later until 2013.[3] In June 2013, Eintracht revealed that the goalkeeper's contract would be cancelled, effective immediately to allow Nikolov to fulfill his lifelong dream to play in the United States.[4] Thus, after 22 years of fidelity to Frankfurt, Nikolov left the club as Germany's most loyal Bundesliga player.

On 19 June 2013, Nikolov signed with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer.[5] He made his first start as a Union player on 30 July 2013 in a friendly against Stoke City playing 45 minutes. His main responsibility though was to guide the younger Goalkeepers in the club to develop their performances.

Nikolov signed with Fort Lauderdale Strikers on February 19, 2014 on a contract for the nine-game Spring season. Nikolov started and played eight matches in goal for the Strikers, posting two clean sheets. The team ended up as runners-ups.

Coaching career[edit]

  • Director of Coaching at JFC Frankfurt
  • Project Director and Coach at the Eintracht Frankfurt Football Academy
  • Assistant Coach for the under 19 German National Team.
  • Nikolov also served as Assistant Coach for the Macedonian National Team.
  • Currently, Oka Nikolov serves as the Assistant Coach for the Philadelphia Union (MLS).

International career[edit]

Nikolov chose to represent the country of his ancestors, going on to win five caps for Macedonia in four years. Since he also possessed German citizenship he couldn't acquire a Macedonian passport and therefore was unable to play in official games under FIFA. His 5 appearances were only in friendlies.[6]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Feick, Michael (12 August 2010). "Oka Nikolov bleibt im Eintracht-Tor" [Oka Nikolov remains in Eintracht goal] (in German). Eintracht's official website. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Nikolov kehrt zurück" [Nikolov returns] (in German). Frankfurter Neue Presse. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Oka Nikolov verlängert bis 2013" [Oka Nikolov renews until 2013] (in German). Frankfurter Rundschau. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Frankfurt release Oka Nikolov" [Frankfurt release Oka Nikolov] (in German). Bundesliga.de. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Union sign veteran goalkeeper Oka Nikolov". Philadelphia Union. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Oka Nikolov". MacedonianFootball. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 

External links[edit]