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Talkin’ to Konopka – Hillcrest Road
March 18, 2010

Talkin’ to Konopka

Thursday March 18, 2010

Hillcrest Road, the official blog of the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer talks to former Wizards goalkeeper and Jersey Shore Boca standout Chris Konopka from Ireland


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day yesterday, Hillcrest Road caught up with former Wizards goalkeeper Chris Konopka. Chris now plays for Waterford United in the League of Ireland First Division. We asked him about St. Patty’s Day on the Green Island and for some information on the soccer. He is the only non-Irish player on Waterford United and wears #1 and has played the full 90 in both of United’s games this season.

As a former Wizards player now over in the Irish 1st Division, compare Kansas City/US St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to those over on the Emerald Isle:

First off, St Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a National Holiday, so everyone is off from work and most of the places are closed down. Every major town has a parade that would go down the main streets of the town. Dublin obviously has the biggest parade, which attracts most of the tourists from outside of the country. But even down here in Waterford there is a big parade that goes through the city, and mostly everyone from the county comes to it. It would be more of a festival rather than a day to drink green beer, with live trade music in the big squares of the town. That’s not to say that a fair share of Guinness doesn’t get consumed! I guess the way to describe it is that it is more of a celebration that the whole family can enjoy.

What is it like living in Ireland?

I have enjoyed living every moment living in Ireland so far, it is like a second home to me now and have many close friends over here. The people are very friendly and outgoing to make you feel welcome. The country itself if beautiful, and I still get chills every time I look out and see the county as I am landing at the airport. You have to see it for yourself, but it is the greenest place you will ever see!

How is “real” corned beef and cabbage?

LOL! Corned beef is more of an American Irish thing, as I believe it was one of the cheapest things to eat during the depression, so the Irish, who most were on the lower end of the class system at that time in America, made due with eating corned beef, so that is why it is associated with Ireland. However, there are some places that will put it on the menu, and yes it does taste amazing! Especially if you wash it down with a fresh pint of Guinness!

What is the style and standard of play like in the Irish top flight?

The Irish League has been progressing every year and closing the gap between other European leagues. For the past 2 years St. Pat’s Athletic have advanced to the final knockout round of the UEFA Cup before the Group stages start, losing to Hertha Berlin and Steaua Bucharest, respectively. Bohemians lost to Red Bull Salzburg by 1 goal on aggregate in the Champions League. So the standard is there especially when you see how the Irish teams are competing against the top teams in Europe.

Do you still keep in contact with any former KC teammates?

I still keep in touch with some of the players on the team that came into the league my year. Facebook is the best invention in the world if you live in a foreign country. You can still keep in touch with your family and friends like you are next door. And I will chat to some of the boys every now and again to see how they are doing.

How often do you check in on the team and their results?

I will check in every now and again to see if there is any news going around with the club or in the league in general. But I mostly will check up on my Philly teams (Eagles and Phillies) to see how they are doing since it’s tough to watch any baseball or football on TV! But there are a couple of sites online that will stream games during the season, so I can get my fix that way.


Thursday March 18, 2010
Hillcrest Road