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Konopka continues to progress in pro soccer – Asbury Park Press
July 8, 2010

Konopka continues to progress in pro soccer

Asbury Park Press
Published July 8, 2010

Chris Konopka shined as a goalie for Toms River East. He started 56 games for the Raiders, had a goals-against average of 1.18 and a save percentage of .859. Fast forward eight years later and you will find Konopka playing professional soccer in Ireland for Waterford Untied FC.

Konopka began his professional soccer career with the Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards in 2007. He has also achieved several professional honors while playing in Ireland. In 2009, he won the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Ford Cup while playing with the Sporting Fingal FC. In 2010, his current club team Waterford United FC became the Munster Senior Cup champions.

Before getting to the professional level, Konopka played NCAA Division I soccer in the Big East Conference for Providence. It was not until his junior year that he believed playing soccer at the next level was a possibility.

“I always wanted to see how far soccer could take me, and my junior year I did well and really made a name for myself,” Konopka said.

By his senior year, Konopka was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards and his journey as a professional soccer player began.

“Getting drafted by the Wizards was a great learning experience for me. It showed me the ropes of how to be a professional and the demand of a professional athlete,” Konopka said.

Konopka was the understudy of Kevin Hartman who is a proven veteran in the MLS.

“Kevin was a great guy to learn from. I picked up important things from him during my time with the Wizards,” Konopka said.

However, with a veteran starter playing for the Wizards, Konopka knew he would not get the experience needed to improve as a player.

“You can train day in and day out, but it’s the game experience and knowledge that separates the good players from the great ones,” Konopka said.

Konopka is halfway through his season in Ireland and his team currently sits in second place which will get them a playoff spot at the end of the season in November.

“I am doing well and playing in almost all the games this season,” Konopka said. “We will see how the season goes and hopefully we can finish out the season strong and win the league, which is the ultimate goal for the club.”

As of now, Konopka is enjoying playing the sport he loves and is waiting to see where it will take him. He hopes his determination and drive will help him play in a bigger league in the future.

Soccer might take him to a league in Europe or even back to the United States. But for now, Konopka is happy with his current situation.

“It is every footballer’s goal to do better and progress the best that he can,” Konopka said. “But right now I’m in a good place with a good team and I’m just seeing where it goes from here.”

Asbury Park Press
Published July 8, 2010