Nikolaos Kounenakis
Rogerio Barbosa /

Nikolaos Kounenakis joins the Impact coaching staff

MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact announced on Monday that Nikolaos Kounenakis has joined the club’s first team as assistant coach.

Kounenakis, who turns 36 today, was previously an assistant coach with OFI Crete in the Greek Super League in 2013, where he spent the majority of his career. He holds his UEFA Pro Licence.

“I’m very happy to add Nikos to our group,” said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “He will bring a wealth of experience as a former player who then worked as a coach. He will complement the staff that we have. It’s a fantastic addition for us.”

After being brought up through the OFI Crete youth system, Kounenakis became one of the youngest players to ever debut in the Greek first division at age 17 in 1995. The central defender had a five-year stay with the Greek Super League club where he earned experience in notable European competitions including the Intertoto Cup and the UEFA Cup. His first career goal came in a 3-0 victory over Hungary’s Ferencvaros in the first round of the 1997-98 UEFA Cup.

After a transfer to Anderlecht in Belgium, where he and teammate Yarris Anastasiou became the first Greek players to win a championship abroad, and a short stretch at Dutch squad Roda JC, Kounenakis returned to OFI Crete where he became a mainstay on their backline over the next seven seasons, culminating with being named team captain from 2007-2009.

Kounenakis recorded more than 200 total appearances for OFI Crete, scoring five goals. He then continued his career at Aris Limassol F.C. of the Cyprus first division, making 17 appearances and helping the club reach the semifinals of the Cyprus Cup.

On the international scene, he played for the Greek national team from U16 to U21 levels.

He played one season in Major League Soccer with the Kansas City Wizards in 2010.

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, he speaks English, Greek, and Dutch.