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LA Galaxy swap goalkeeper coaches, add assistant to Sigi Schmid’s staff

Oka Nikolov and Junior Gonzalez join club


The changes are coming at the StubHub Center, and they’re coming fast.

A day after the Galaxy ceremonially said goodbye to Robbie Rogers and unceremoniously dumped five squad members, Sigi Schmid made a few coaching moves: Philadelphia Union goalkeeper coach Oka Nikolov and Rio Grande Valley FC Toros head coach Junior Gonzalez are coming to LA.

“Oka and Junior are very experienced and quality coaches who will provide excellent leadership and guidance to our team,” said Schmid this morning. “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.”

A Macedonian international, the 43-year old Nikolov comes to LA after a successful three-year stint with the Union following an impressive Bundesliga career featuring for Eintracht Frankfurt. 40-year old Junior Gonzalez is a young manager by trade who has previously worked as an assistant with the Sounders, served as the director of scouting for Chivas USA, oversaw U.S. youth team operations and also managed UC Riverside.

Thoughts? I have to say, I am excited to see what Nikolov can bring to the club. This was not a lazy or uninspired hire, the goalkeeper coach is a valued asset: In addition to grooming Andre Blake into one of the league’s best, Nikolov has spent time with the German youth setup mentoring the U-19 squad.