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The Philadelphia Union's new goalkeeper coach Paulo Grilo

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Like pupil Rais M'Bolhi, Grilo came to Philadelphia from CSKA Sofia last August.

Under Grilo's watch, M'Bolhi produced one of the lowest GAA's in Europe during the 2013/14 season.
Under Grilo's watch, M'Bolhi produced one of the lowest GAA's in Europe during the 2013/14 season.
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

When Rais M'Bolhi joined the Philadelphia Union last summer, he did not come alone.

Joining him in Philadelphia would be his goalkeeper coach at his last club CSKA Sofia, 45 year old Portuguese coach Paulo Grilo.  Despite the fact that they spent one season at the Bulgarian powerhouse, the two share a strong relationship.  M'Bolhi has credited Grilo with helping him rise to stardom during Algeria's run at the World Cup last summer.

Grilo had a two decade career as a goalkeeper in the second and third tiers of Portuguese football.  When he retired he earned his UEFA coaching license and started his coaching career at Saudi Arabian club El Ettafaq.  He moved around the Middle East until he ended up with CSKA Sofia in 2013.  It's at Sofia where M'Bolhi and Grilo developed a "very strong connection" (Translation) as Grilo describes.  During their one season together in Bulgaria M'Bolhi allowed a league-low 20 goals in 38 matches.

M'Bolhi had a shaky start to his Union career, but with former starter Zac MacMath spending the year with the Colorado Rapids M'Bolhi is under added pressure as the unquestioned Philadelphia Union number one goalkeeper. There might be no man better equipped to help M'Bolhi meet expectations than Paulo Grilo.