The Philadelphia Union signed 39-year-old Macedonia international goalie Oka Nikolov
, who spent nearly
20 years with German club Eintracht Frankfurt, making 229 appearances in the Bundesliga. While Union coach John Hackworth
praised Nikolov's character and
experience, he did say current No. 1 keeper Zac MacMath
, 18 years younger than Nikolov, is still the starter in goal.
“He is first and
foremost a fantastic person,” Hackworth said of Nikolov at his weekly press conference. “Something we believe very strongly in is the character of the people we bring into our club, and he
certainly epitomizes that. I met with him and was impressed with him as a person as much as his playing record. The fact that he was at Eintracht Frankfurt for so long and is in high regard there says
volumes about him as a person and as a player.”
Nikolov started the final eight games of Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2012-13 season, helping earn the club a spot in the playoff
round of the Europa League. Despite this success, Hackworth says Nikolov will have to earn whatever minutes he gets.
“Zac’s absolutely, 100 percent still the starter,”
Hackworth said. “No question about that.”