Ike Opara has been appointed as the assistant coach of Sporting Kansas City II. Sporting Kansas City announced the former defender today as an assistant under SKC II head coach Benny Feilhaber. The move reunites the two former teammates and podcast hosts.
Opara returns to Kansas City where he played from 2013-2018, helping SKC to the 2013 MLS Cup and a pair of U.S. Open Cups. Opara also played in San Jose (2010-2012) and with Minnesota United FC (2019-2020) before retiring. The two-time Defender of the Year also was scout for Nashville SC with former teammate Chance Myers and working for Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs, a former assistant Technical Director with SKC.
Internationally, Opara played for the United States at the U-20 and U-23 levels between 2008-2012 before finally making appearing for the senior U.S. Men’s National Team on Jan. 28, 2018, playing the full 90 minutes in a scoreless draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
While Opara had a tremendous club career, both club and international play was hampered by injuries, missing significant time on several occasions and ultimately leading to his retirement after the 2020 season despite having just won another Defender of the Year in 2019.
Despite the injuries that limited Opara’s time, he still scored 20 goals and added 6 assists over 180 appearances. His ability in the air on offense and especially defense was exceptional.
Taking on his first professional coaching job at the club where he had his best string of success seems to be a great step for all parties. Opara is back in familiar grounds, working with Feilhaber in a system they both know, and imparting his knowledge of the game to younger players on the way up.
SKC II and Academy players can look up to and learn from both of the new hires as well as returning Goalkeeper Coach Darrin MacLeod and returning Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Steidle.