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Who’s this Konopka fellow?

[Update: Peter Nowak spoke about Chris Konopka at a press conference on Wednesday:

We have Zac MacMath, Chase Harrison and Chris Konopka. So we’re looking to evaluate the situation, and we’ll see if Chris will make it at the end or not. He’s another goalkeeper who was already with MLS teams a couple of times, but also was in Europe. So he has enough experience to be the second or third keeper.

The situation right now is that he’s training with us. He’s a very good guy. We’ll see where he is at the end of this camp…

He looks very well. He’s been in Europe, he has a good pedigree in Major League Soccer. So we’re looking to see where we are with him. Right now he’s with us, but I believe that at the end of this camp we’ll have to make a decision because of the roster compliance deadline on March 1. We’ve got to make sure that we have a good corps of goalkeepers.]

The Union confirmed on Wednesday through the declined the option to sign him in November to make him available for the Re-Entry Draft. The tweet also said Chris Konopka was in camp.

You wouldn’t be alone if you wondered, “Chris Konopka, who’s he?”

Peter Nowak knows. He selected him for the US U-23 player pool in 2007.

While the Union tweet describes Konopka as a former New York Red Bulls player, he made just one start for the club after signing with them as an emergency loan from the league’s Goalkeeper Pool. Against Chicago Fire on August 13, he allowed two first half goals in a 2–2 draw.

A native of Toms River, NJ who grew up watching the Metro Stars and keepers Tony Meola and Tim Howard, Konopka called the start a “dream” to be able to play in front of friends and family.

“I did OK. I let in two goals,” Konopka said. “It is what it is.”

After that single appearance he returned to the league’s Goalkeeper Pool.

Previously in 2011 he had trained with the Columbus Crew in the preseason. With the Crew in 2011 he made an appearance in the US Open Cup match against Richmond Kickers on June 28 and in the friendly against Newcastle United on July 26, in which he allowed two goals in a 3–0 loss. He was called up again by Columbus soon after his time with New York and was on the team’s 18-player roster for the Crew’s matches against Toronto, Houston and Philadelphia.

Beginnings

Konopka was a third round draft pick (29th overall) in the 2007 Supplemental draft, joining Kansas City Wizards from Providence. It appears that he made 18 appearances with the club, all in the reserve league. Coming out of training camp, he also won “Best Ponytail.”

After Kansas City elected not to exercise his contract option, Konopka turned abroad for new opportunities. Following trials with Cardiff City and Charlton Athletic, former Providence assistant coach and Dublin native Kempes Corbally helped Konopka get a trial with Bohemian FC in the Irish Premier Division. He soon joined the club as its second keeper, making his first team debut in League Cup play on July 1. He went on to help the team win the League of Ireland championship and the FAI Cup, becoming the first American to do so.

In 2009, Konopka joined Sporting Fingal, making four first team appearances and helping that club win the FAI Cup as well as promotion to the Premier Division.

In 2010, Konopka joined Waterford United in the Irish First Division.

Following his time there, Konopka, who holds a US and a Polish passport, trialed with Polish club Jagiellonia Bialystok before returning to MLS to sign as a pool goalkeeper.

Whether Konopka will prove himself worthy of signing with the Union during the preseason or return to the goalkeeper pool remains to be seen.

 

5 Comments

  1. I am kinda giddy right now, this guy was my GK in a FM10 game were I brought a Blue Square South team all the way up to the PL. He set the Blue Square South and then the Blue Square Premier leagues on fire for me.

  2. James’s argument is good enough for me. SIGN THE LAD UP!

  3. William Jones says:

    Any relation to Zenon Konopka? He’s a hockey player formerly in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization (spending most of his time in Syracuse), and currently in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Not the most common name: Konopka.

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