This week's Sporting Spotlight catches up with Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara as 38 the Spot host Crystle Lampitt gets the latest on his recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon, his favorite hangout spot in KC and the role his father played early in his soccer career. Check out the video segments below and be sure to tune in to 38 the Spot every Monday morning as the series continues all season long.
I recently sat down with forward Krisztián Németh to learn more about the Hungarian goal scorer’s off the field life.
Connor Erickson: What were you like as a child?
Krisztián Németh: I really played soccer a lot when I was a kid, by myself or with my friends. That’s what I like doing. That was pretty much my whole childhood.
CE: Now that you’re busy being a professional soccer player, when you get some time off, where is your favorite vacation/holiday spot?
KN: One of my best holidays was in Cancun, that place was really fun. If I go on holiday in Europe probably San-Tropez in France.
CE: You recently asked your girlfriend a very important question, can you tell us about that?
KN: That was in Venice, Italy and it was a big surprise, I took her there and proposed to her. She had no idea until I asked her the question. I was very good at keeping that a secret.
CE: What is one thing you miss most about living in Europe?
KN: The things I miss the most are my family, and my friends. Some of the food but not all of it, just some of it. It’s really those first two things that are the most important to me. Also a little bit Budapest. I love Budapest. I love this city too though. It is a very good place to live.
CE: What is the strangest thing that people in the the United States do?
KN: When the stoplights are red, in America I can go right. That was a little bit strange for me because in Europe when it is red you have to stop no matter what.
CE: Speaking of strange American things, do you watch zombie movies?
KN: Oh yeah I know those
CE: So the zombie apocalypse starts tomorrow, which 2 teammates do you call?
KN: To survive, I would take Benny because he is funny, and maybe Marcel.
CE: Why Marcel?
KN: He would be one of the best guys for that (surviving).
CE: When you listen to American music, what is your go to?
KN: I like Chris Brown, that kind of music.
CE: So if you could be a musician, would you sing, rap, play an instrument? What would you be?
KN: I would probably be Chris Brown
CE: You would just be Chris Brown? Do you think you have the moves to pull that off?
KN: No, I don’t have those skills, I can’t dance very well.
CE: What is your opinion on American food?
KN: American food is very good but it is way too much. I can eat lunches and dinners together and I will be fine for the whole night
CE: If someone gave you 1 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Peter Vermes: He would give me half right away
KN: Yeah I would give him half, and give you half too.
CE: Would you fight one round in the UFC for one million dollars?
KN: I don’t really want to get in a ring with one of them. Definitely not for a million. I want to keep playing soccer so I would not take money to fight a professional.
CE: Who on the team would last the longest?
KN: Me….No, definitely not (laughs). We don’t really have many big, tough guys. Maybe Jalil Anibaba.
CE: Who would last the least amount of time?
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber was a guest on today's edition of ExtraTime Radio, joining MLSsoccer.com staffers David Gass, Simon Borg, Arielle Castillo and Ben Baer during the 70-minute show. ExtraTime Radio is the official podcast of Major League Soccer and is available on SiriusXM FC every Tuesday and Friday.
Feilhaber was recently named to the MLS All-Star Fan XI and will take part in his first MLS All-Star Game next week alongside teammates Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. The World Cup veteran is in the midst of a career year, starting all 20 of the club's competitive matches while setting new personal highs in MLS play for both goals (6, T-2nd on SKC) and assists (10, T-2nd in MLS).
The Sporting Spotlight series this week focuses on Sporting KC team captain Matt Besler. The hometown star talks about changes to his personal life after success as an MLS All-Star and as a member of the US Men's National Team. Besler also discusses his love for giving back to the community he grew up in, the fans that support Sporting KC and his new commercial with Me Undies.
Continue to watch 38 the Spot every Monday morning for a new Sporting Spotlight with Crystle Lampitt.
Did you miss your chance to purchase VIP tickets to Buzz Beach Ball? Have you been looking for some exclusive autographed Sporting KC items and experiences?
Sporting KC supporters now have the opportunity to bid on some serious swag in an online auction featuring five separate items:
- 2 Buzz Beach Ball VIP tickets
- 4 Victory Suite tickets for Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo on Tuesday, July 21
- A Dom Dwyer poster signed after his record-setting four-goal performance in the U.S. Open Cup
- A 2014 team-signed canvas (one of only 50 made!)
- An authentic 2015 team-signed jersey
Bidding is open online at auctions.sportingkc.com until July 20! All proceeds will benefit The Victory Project in its mission to help children thrive through life’s challenges.
Sporting KC defender Kevin Ellis heads in a Krisztian Nemeth cross in the 52nd minute to make it 1-0 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The goal is Ellis' second of the regular season.
- +25 Entries: Submit Form (name, email, address, birthday)
- +25 Entries: Share the sweepstakes on Twitter
- +25 Entries: Share the sweepstakes on Facebook
- +10 Entries: Like the Kansas City Steak Company on Facebook
- +10 Entries: Follow @KCSteaks on Twitter
- +10 Entries: Follow @SportingKC on Twitter
The SweepSTEAKS ends on July 31 with a winner to be randomly selected. The Kansas City Steak Company is the presenting sponsor of Sporting Kansas City's official podcast, Snippets of Sporting, which is available three days each week at SportingKC.com and iTunes.
This week’s Sporting Spotlight shines brightly on Kansas City’s own Jon Kempin. KMCI-TV 38 the Spot host Crystle Lampitt chatted with the 22-year-old homegrown goalkeeper to learn more about his dedication to soccer.
Kempin, who turned pro in 2010, is currently enrolled at Johnson County Community College in pursuit of a business degree. Kempin also speaks about his new Christmas gift: a puppy affectionately nicknamed “Chewy."
Tune in every Monday morning for the newest Sporting Spotlight on 38 The Spot or check out their YouTube playlist to catch up on previous segments.
For this last Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight, all eyes turn toward Nick Besler, the 2011 Kevin Gray Male Youth Player of the Year. Since receiving the honor following his record-breaking career at Blue Valley West High School, Besler has enjoyed plenty of soccer success both at the University of Notre Dame and now with the Portland Timbers. A three-year starter while at Notre Dame, Besler certainly made an impact in the midfield for the Irish, notching spots on the All-ACC First Team and NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2013. Nick also served as team captain during his senior season, which only added to his already impressive soccer résumé. Despite all of these individual accolades, though, Besler believes that there is one team achievement that stands above the rest.
“The national championship I won my junior year is what I'm most proud of," Besler said of Notre Dame's victory over Maryland in the 2013 final. "While I have won individual awards as well, there is that feeling of accomplishing something together as a team that is much more rewarding. Winning a national championship is something that I will never forget."
The Irish won by a 2-1 scoreline and Besler assisted the goal that tied the game in the 40th minute. The following year, Notre Dame earned a #1 seed in the College Cup and advanced to the third round before falling 1-0 to eventual winners Virginia.
Although the team came up a bit short in 2014, Besler graduated from Notre Dame with his sights set on a professional soccer career—and rightly so. This past January, Nick was selected fifth overall by the Portland Timbers in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, which made him the highest MLS draft pick in Notre Dame history. The previous owner of that distinction was Nick’s older brother, Matt -- the Sporting Kansas City team captain and World Cup veteran was selected eighth overall in 2009. Of his relationship with his brother, Nick says that “Matt has been a great role model for me…and the way he goes about his own career has been the thing that I've noticed the most.”
With regard to his time with the Timbers thus far, Nick pointed out that the main difference he has observed between college and professional soccer is the speed of play.
“Everything has to be quicker at this level,” he said, “[but] I feel like I have adjusted well to the new city and the new team.”
Looking ahead, Besler says that “my plan is to keep growing as a soccer player and continue to improve. Right now, I will continue to get minutes with [the Timbers’ USL developmental side] T2 and hopefully I will have an impact with the first team.”
Best of luck to Nick in the future! If all goes well, we at Sporting KC will look forward to potential Besler v. Besler match-ups whenever the Timbers come to town. Click here to read more about the Besler brothers’ “First Family” status within the Notre Dame men’s soccer program.
Our second Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight of the week features 2012 Kevin Gray Adult Player of the Year, Adrianna “AD” Franch. Originally from Salina, Kansas and a South High School graduate, AD boasted an impressive soccer background even before moving on to college and becoming a professional not long after. During her high school career, AD was a three-year member of the Kansas Olympic Development Program and earned All-State, All-Southwest Region and All-League honors as the starting goalie for the Cougars.
Franch, who as a child used to be called the “next Bri Scurry," then went on to become one of the most decorated players in Big 12 soccer history. Starting for Oklahoma State University all four years, Franch helped the Cowgirls secure back-to-back Big 12 Championships in 2009 and 2010. On an individual level, AD was named to the All-Big 12 Conference First Team four times, was a three-time All-American and currently holds the Oklahoma State career record for shutouts with 38 -- a number that ranks sixth all time in NCAA history.
Thanks to these remarkable statistics, AD immediately began getting looks from the U.S. Women’s National Team coaches. In 2010, her sophomore year, she was called up to the U-20 squad to compete at the World Cup in Germany and in 2012, she played on the U-23 team that won the Three Nations Tournament in Norway. Later that same year, Franch was invited to train with the senior U.S. WNT in preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London. Balancing national team duties with her responsibilities as a leader on the Oklahoma State women’s team was not easy, AD remarked, but all of her efforts proved to be worthwhile as Franch was drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in January 2013 by the Western New York Flash. She was the sixth pick overall and the first goalkeeper selected by any team.
“Knowing that I achieved one of my biggest dreams and being able to say that I am professional soccer player was [one of] my proudest accomplishments,” AD said of the moment.
Just a few short months later, Franch made her professional debut for the Flash, making eight saves in the game and earning Player of the Week honors from Equalizer Soccer. After the match, Western New York head coach Aaran Lines said, “I see the future national team goalkeeper of the U.S.”
From there, AD’s success only continued. At the end of her rookie season, Franch was both a regular season titleholder and had also been named to the NWSL Second XI. Unfortunately, in March 2014, Franch suffered a torn right ACL during the first week of preseason and was forced to miss the entire 2014 season.
Following an 18-month recovery period and break from competition, Franch has recently signed with Norwegian Toppserien club Avaldsnes IL, officially leaving the Western New York Flash. According to AD, many emotions accompanied her long-awaited return to professional play.
“I was excited to get back, proud of the work put in to come back, and had a sense of relief to finally be back,” she told us.
Long term, Franch intends to continue pursuing further soccer success and says that “watching the World Cup makes me excited and motivated to keep making strides for the next one [in 2019].”
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for our last Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight on Notre Dame grad and Portland Timbers rookie Nick Besler! To stay up to date on all things Sporting Club Network, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!