NEW YORK – The New York Red Bulls announced Greek goalkeeper for the Georgetown University Hoyas Giannis Nikopolidis as their third pick and 71st overall in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Super Draft on January 11.
The Red Bulls tweeted: “Our own Greek Freak! We’ve selected Giannis Nikopolidis out of @GUHoyasMSoccer with the No. 71 pick! Welcome, Giannis!”
Born in Athens, Nikopolidis is the son of Antonis Nikopolidis who is regarded among the best Greek goalkeepers of all time, having been awarded the most caps for the Greece national team and playing an integral part in the UEFA Euro 2004 victory. He was also the former manager of the Greece under-21 national team. Giannis’ mother, Vasiliki Stasinou, was a member of the Greek National Women’s Basketball Team.
Giannis Nikopolidis, according to his bio on the Georgetown University site, in 2020 was a United Soccer Coaches First Team All-America honoree. He was selected United Soccer Coaches First Team All-East Region, the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year and a First Team All-Big East Selection. He started 12 games for the Hoyas, went 8-2-1 with six shutouts on the year, managed 26 saves and a 0.61 GAA [goals against average]. Nikopolidis was selected as the United Soccer Coaches Division I College Player of the Week on March 30 and the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week the day prior. He also earned a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll on March 15. Nikopolidis was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List and was the Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year.
In 2019, he was selected as the Big East Co-Goalkeeper of the Year and First Team All-Big East. Nikopolidis was named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week on October 13, earned one nod to the weekly honor roll, started and appeared in goal 12 times for the Hoyas, posted a 0.857 save percentage, and managed six shutouts and 36 saves on the season.
In 2018, he was named to the Big East All-Freshman squad, appeared in goal for the Hoyas in 18 games, posted an .817 save percentage while compiling nine wins. Nikopolidis managed eight shutouts as well as 58 saves for the year, was named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week on August 27 and the Big East Freshman of the Week to close out the season. He earned one nod to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll and missed three games playing with the Greek National Team.
Prior to Georgetown, Mikopolidis played with Olympiakos in the U-20 Greek Super League as well as the UEFA Youth League and trained with the first team. He managed four shutouts in six contests, posted 13 shutouts in 30 games in the U-17 Greek Super League and the team won the league championship. Nikopolidis was Captain since 2015. He played significant minutes with the Greek Youth National Team posting four shutouts in 2016-17 and three shutouts during the 2015-16 seasons.
The Greek community in the New York area welcomed the Red Bulls’ news with congratulations and posts on social media. The Consulate General of Greece in New York posted on Facebook: “A new Greek Freak is born! Congratulations to goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis who was the 3rd pick of the New York Red Bulls at the 2022 Superdraft! Son of the former goalkeeper of Greece’s National Team Antonis Nikopolidis he now begins his journey at the Major League Soccer (MLS)!”