Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Young Canadian Defender Eager to Learn as a Member of the Los Angeles Galaxy

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Young Canadian Defender Eager to Learn as a Member of the Los Angeles Galaxy

Article excerpt

Kofi Opare looks to learn in Los Angeles

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The MLS SuperDraft has taken Kofi Opare from the University of Michigan to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

But in reality, the 22-year-old defender made his way to training camp with the two-time defending MLS champions via Ghana, South Africa, New Jersey and Niagara Falls, Ont.

Still Opare knows his pro soccer journey has just begun.

"I'm going in with the mentality to work hard, to work as hard as I can," he said in an interview. "And just try to do the little things right, try and improve, try to learn from the older guys, the more experienced guys on how to be a good professional, how to carry myself both on and off the field.

"It's definitely exciting. I'm definitely looking forward to the next phase of my life."

The Galaxy open training Monday morning. They kick off the season March 3 against the visiting Chicago Fire at The Home Depot Center.

Should Opare stick in Los Angeles, he will be able to learn his craft from Omar Gonzalez, the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year.

"He's one of the best players in the country right now," Opare said of the six-foot-five American, who played just 14 games during the 2012 regular season because of a knee injury.

"He's very composed on the ball, he reads the game very well. And he's definitely a player I can look up to just for advice. And I know playing with him, or playing against him in practice, can definitely improve my game."

Born in Ghana to Ghanaian parents, Opare was one when the family left for South Africa to take advantage of job opportunities for his mother, who is a family physician (his father is a retired teacher). They spent 10 years there before heading to the U.S.

He was eight or nine -- in South Africa -- when he took up soccer with his brother.

Opare lived four years in New Jersey before the family settled in Niagara Falls, where he attended St. …

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