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East grad to play for MLS team in KC – Ocean County Observer
March 25, 2007

East grad to play for MLS team in K.C.

Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 03/25/07

Staff report

Goalkeeper Chris Konopka, the former Toms River High School East and Providence College standout, will begin his professional career with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer.

Konopka signed a contract Friday, team officials said.

A former Jersey Shore Boca player, Konopka was selected by the Wizards in the third round of the MLS Supplemental Draft in January.

He follows Ted Gillen, now the Raiders’ boys coach, as the second East player to play MLS. Gillen was with the Metrostars in 1996.

During the past two months, Konopka impressed the Kansas City coaching staff as part of its training camp which took the former Raider from the west coast of Florida to Argentina.

In camp at the IMG Academies, Bradenton, Konopka played in all but one of the Wizards’ five matches and allowed no goals. He traveled to Buenos Aires and, after a few days of training to adjust for climate and time differences, played a full 90 minutes with their reserve squad and posted a 1-0 win over second division club Defensia & Justicia.

He played half the match in a 5-1 victory over first division side Club Atletico Nueva Chicago.

Konopka overall has allowed three goals in eight of 10 preseason games.

The Wizards will open the regular season April 14 at DC United.

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