coaches

LA Galaxy add Oka Nikolov and Junior Gonzalez to coaching staff

The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has added former Bundesliga standout and Philadelphia Union goalkeeping coach Oka Nikolov as goalkeeper coach and forward Rio Grande Valley FC Toros Head Coach Junior Gonzalez as an assistant coach on the club’s technical staff.

“Oka and Junior are very experienced and quality coaches who will provide excellent leadership and guidance to our team,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “Oka has spent time playing at the highest level and has proven himself to be a top goalkeeper coach in MLS. Junior, in addition to his playing career, has experience in this league and in all levels of coaching in the United States. They will join our club bringing a wealth of talent, experience and commitment. We are excited to add two bright coaches as we continue to assemble top talent on and off the field.”

Nikolov, 43, was appointed to the Philadelphia Union technical staff in 2015 to oversee the goalkeeping position. Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, under the tutelage of Nikolov, developed into one of the best goalkeepers in Major League Soccer, earning honors as the 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and again being nominated for the same award this season. As a player, Nikolov spent 22 years at Eintracht Frankfurt, including 19 seasons with the senior team where he appeared in more 370 Bundesliga games. Nikolov joined the Philadelphia Union in July 2013 before finishing his club career with Fort Lauderdale Strikers, of the North American Soccer League, in 2014. Internationally, Nikolov appeared in five games for Macedonia.

After retiring from play in 2014, Nikolov joined the Eintracht Frankfurt Talent Academy as a coach and also served as the assistant coach for the Macedonian National Team. Before that, Nikolov worked as a goalkeeping coach for the German Under-19 National Team.

Gonzalez, 40, joins the Galaxy after serving as the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros Head Coach since the start of the 2017 USL season. Prior to that, he served as an assistant coach of Seattle Sounders FC S2 under Ezra Hendrickson and was previously an assistant coach and served as the director of scouting at Chivas USA from 2013-2014. Gonzalez has also served as the U.S. Boys’ U-15 National Team assistant coach, as well as the head scout for the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The California native also served as the Sounders’ head academy scout and U-14 head coach.

Gonzalez’ coaching career began in 2001 as an assistant coach for the University of California, Riverside men’s program. Three years later he became the head coach, and under his tenure 30 players were named All-Big West Conference – including two Big West Conference Players of the Year – and six players went on to MLS and USL careers. In 2011, Gonzalez was named the Big West Coach of the Year.

As a player, Gonzalez won the 1997 NCAA National Championship with UCLA. His collegiate career included four trips to the NCAA tournament and three Mountain Pacific Conference Championships. Gonzalez continued his playing career with the USL’s San Diego Flash, and his career continued throughout California before his final stop with the Utah Blitz.

Former LA Galaxy goalkeeper coach Daniel Gonzalez is no longer with the club.

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