Orhej "Oka" Nikolov (German pronunciation: [ˈɔɐ̯hɛɪ ˈʔɔkaː ˈniːkolɔf]; Macedonian: Орхеј "Ока" Николов [ˈɔrxɛj ˈɔka niˈkɔɫɔf]; born 25 May 1974) is a Macedonian retired professional football goalkeeper who currently serves as Assistant Coach for the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer. He spent nineteen seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt, appearing in 413 official games over the course of 13 Bundesliga seasons.
|Full name||Orhej Nikolov|
|Date of birth||25 May 1974|
|Place of birth||Erbach im Odenwald, West Germany|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Philadelphia Union (assistant)|
|1992–1996||Eintracht Frankfurt II||73||(0)|
|2014||Fort Lauderdale Strikers||8||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born Erbach im Odenwald, Hessen, West Germany, Nikolov grew up in Sandbach in Hessen, starting playing football with local SG Sandbach.
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 played in every season. In February 2007, after Pröll received a rib injury, he was reinstated by manager Friedhelm Funkel, contributing with 20 games during the team's 2006-07 season.
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. 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.
Nikolov signed with Fort Lauderdale Strikers on 19 February 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.
- 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 and Assistant Coach for the Philadelphia Union (MLS).
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.
- "LA Galaxy add Oka Nikolov and Junior Gonzalez to coaching staff". lagalaxy.com. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
- 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.
- "Nikolov kehrt zurück" [Nikolov returns] (in German). Frankfurter Neue Presse. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "O. Nikolov". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- "Oka Nikolov verlängert bis 2013" [Oka Nikolov renews until 2013] (in German). Frankfurter Rundschau. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Frankfurt release Oka Nikolov" [Frankfurt release Oka Nikolov] (in German). Bundesliga.de. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "Union sign veteran goalkeeper Oka Nikolov". Philadelphia Union. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- "Oka Nikolov". MacedonianFootball. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2014.