The German-born Macedonian international ends a 22-year run with Eintracht Frankfurt to join the Philadelphia Union.For the first time in more than two decades, goalkeeper Oka Nikolov is bracing himself for a change of scenery.
Nikolov signed with the Philadelphia Union Wednesday, ending a 22-year run with Eintracht Frankfurt to join the MLS side. Nikolov came through the Eintracht Frankfurt youth system starting in 1991 and joined the first team in 1995. Since then, Nikolov made 414 appearances, including 229 in the Bundesliga, and he becomes the third goalkeeper on the Union's roster, joining starter Zac MacMath and backup Chris Konopka.
In his Wednesday press conference, Union manager John Hackworth made a point to say that that Nikolov, who has five caps for Macedonia, will act as a mentor while creating competition to push his starter for minutes.
"The reality is that he is coming here to really be a mentor for our young goalkeepers," Hackworth said. "It's going to help to have somebody with Oka's experience to push those two players not only in training but to push for playing time."
Hackworth also made it clear that MacMath will remain the club's starter.
"Zac is absolutly, 100 percent, still the starter," he said.