July 19, 2013
MGoBlue.com recently caught up with former University of Michigan men's soccer defender Kofi Opare, who was a four-year starter for the Wolverines before playing his final season at U-M in 2012. Opare recently became the eighth Michigan player ever to be selected in the SuperDraft, going No. 24 overall (second round) to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
What has the journey been like this summer from Ann Arbor to Los Angeles?
The transition has been a great one that has featured a lot of changes from the weather to the lifestyle here in LA. It was a little stressful at first, having to pack and relocate in a two-day time period. Along with relocating, I was trying to prove myself to the coaching staff and team, but at this point I am pretty much settled here.
What has Los Angeles been like so far?
Los Angeles has been amazing so far, especially coming from the cold winter weather to the warm weather in LA, which is very consistent throughout the year. The people and the fans here have been amazing and extremely welcoming over the past few months. It is a great and vibrant city that is great for a young adult such as myself. There is always something to do, whether it is heading to the beach or to the city. The city never ceases to amaze me.
What has been the most eye-opening experience for you thus far?
The opportunity to train with the players and coaching staff that are regarded as one of the best in MLS on a daily basis. With a team that boasts the likes of Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, I was surprised to find out how down to earth each person is. All of them have been willing to aid in any way possible, whether it relates to soccer or off the field issues, such as finding a good restaurant or the best beaches around. The atmosphere in the locker room is terrific and everyone enjoys coming to work on a daily basis.
Although you have yet to crack first team action, what has training/reserve league matches been like?
It been great, the intensity and speed of play is very high in training session. Every player comes to training everyday with the mentality to work hard and earn a spot. Though it's a little disappointing not to be a regular on the first team, I try to prepare myself mentally and physically every day. Though first team minutes are hard to come by, I feel as if my play has improved tremendously. Being on the reserve squad I have to deal with the movement, technical ability, skill and class of forwards such as Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane on a daily bases. These are players that are considered one the best in the league, and with a coach such as Bruce Arena giving me advice and encouragement throughout the past few months, it is great and keeps me motivated.
What was your greatest memory at Michigan?
I have a few, with the first being our run to the College Cup in 2010, and secondly, helping our team reach our goal of making the NCAA Tournament as a senior. It was special to me to leave a positive legacy on the program.
What are your goals in MLS?
I want to fight for a starting spot, become a regular in the lineup and win the MLS Cup.
What is your outlook for the Wolverines in 2013? Who are some players to look out for?
I have been following the team over the past few months and I truly believe the team can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. With the caliber of players returning in Adam Grinwis, Zeke Harris, Tyler Arnone and Fabio Pereira -- their leadership will be vital this season, and I truly believe they will have a positive influence on the group. If you combine that with the youngsters such as Colin McAtee, James Murphy and a freshman class that looks very strong -- the team has a lot of potential this coming up season. I will certainly be following along throughout the fall.
Fans can follow Opare's MLS journey by following @KofiOpare on Twitter and Instagram.