A product of Wake Forest University, Ike Opara was drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft as a Generation adidas signing. After three years with the club, Sporting Kansas City acquired the defender ahead of the 2013 MLS season. Opara represented the United States at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup and at the U-23 level during the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Opara enjoyed an excellent start to the 2015 campaign, leading MLS through week six with 30 interceptions to go along with a team-high two goals and an MLS Player of the Month nomination in March. An Achilles injury in April drew an early end to his season. He made his return a year later, appearing in a 2-0 win at the New York Red Bulls on April 9, 2016, and has since contributed regularly to Sporting KC's back line.
2016: MLS regular season: Has started three of seven appearances and contributed to one shutout (345 minutes played). Made his season debut as a first-half substitute in a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on April 9, becoming the first MLS player in 2016 to reach eight interceptions, five clearances an four tackles -- doing so in just 49 minutes of action. Earned his first start in just over a year on April 13 against the Colorado Rapids.
2015: MLS regular season: Earned six starts, scored two goals and contributed to three clean sheets (534 minutes played). Scored a goal in a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls on March 8, playing his first MLS match since March 29, 2014. Earned MLS Team of the Week recognition in Week 1 (March 9). Earned MLS Team of the Week recognition in Week 3 (March 23). Scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win at New York City FC on March 28. Earned MLS Team of the Week recognition in Week 4 (March 30). Nominated for Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month in March. Was named Soccer By Ives Player of the Month for March. Suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury in the final moments of a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake on April 11. MLS Cup Playoffs: Did not feature. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2014: MLS regular season: Made three appearances with two starts in the month of March. Opara tied MLS career highs for shots (3) and shots on goal (2) in Sporting KC's 1-0 win against his former club, the San Jose Earthquakes, on March 22. He suffered a chondral defect injury in his right ankle on March 29 at Colorado Rapids and missed the remainder of the season. MLS Playoffs: Did not feature. CCL: Played 90 minutes in both 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal legs vs. Cruz Azul, contributing to a shutout in the first leg on March 12. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2013: Voted 2013 Sporting KC Newcomer of the Year. MLS: Appeared in a career-best 18 games with 16 starts. Tied his career-high with three goals scored. Made his Sporting KC debut with a start against New England Revolution on March 23. Scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time of Sporting KC's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on July 20. Opara scored the lone goal in the team's 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew on October 5. Playoffs: Appeared in three matches during MLS Cup Playoffs. Came off the bench for late-game substitutions in the second leg of the Conference Semfinal series vs. New England and both Conference Championship matches vs. Houston. CCL: Started three 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage matches, scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win at Real Esteli on September 17. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Orlando City SC on June 12.
2012 (San Jose): Played in sixteen matches during MLS season for San Jose Earthquakes.
2011 (San Jose): Made 2011 season debut coming on as a substitute in 83rd minute at FCD on 3/26 … Came on as a substitute in the 70th minute vs. SEA on 4/2 … Made first start of the season, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card vs. TFC on 4/9 … Played 90 minutes at NY on 4/16 and at VAN on 5/11 … Came on as a substitute in 82nd minute vs. CLB on 5/14 … Played 90 minutes vs. NE on 5/21 and at CHI on 5/28 … Missed final 23 games of MLS season due to left foot injury … Exhibition: -- … Open Cup Qualifying: Played 120 minutes, scored the game-winning goal and received a yellow card at POR on 5/3 … Reserves: Played 90 minutes vs. VAN on 3/22 … Started and played 64 minutes vs. SEA on 4/3 … Played 90 minutes vs. CHV on 4/23.
2010 (San Jose): Picked third overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft … Appeared in 11 matches, starting 10 … Scored three goals … Made MLS debut and played 90 minutes vs. RSL on 3/27 … Scored first career goal, a game-winner, in 82nd minute at CHI on 4/10 … Scored his second goal in the win vs. NE on 4/17 … DNP vs. COL on 5/1 … DNP vs. NY on 5/8 or at NE on 5/15 due to right hamstring strain … DNP at SEA on 5/22 or vs. TFC on 5/29 … Came on as a substitute in the 76th minute vs. CLB on 6/2 … Played 90 minutes at FCD on 6/7 and at RSL on 6/25 … Played 90 minutes vs. DC on 7/3 and scored a goal … Played 90 minutes at PHI on 7/10, at LA on 7/22, and vs. SEA on 7/31 … DNP at COL on 8/7 through KC on 10/23 due to fractured left foot … Exhibition: Started and played 72 minutes vs. CHV on 6/12.
International: Started all three matches at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt as the U.S. went 1-2, including a 4-1 win over Cameroon in the second game of the group stage … Invited to camp with the U.S. Olympic squad (U-23) from Feb. 19-29, 2012 … Scored a goal during camp in a friendly with FC Dallas on 2/22.
College: 2009: Appeared in 17 games during junior season at Wake Forest and scored three goals and notched two assists … Earned All-American honors from the NSCAA, Soccer America, College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer.com … Named semifinalist for M.A.C. Hermann Trophy … Selected as ACC Defensive Player of the Year for second straight year … Earned All-ACC first team accolades … Named preseason All-American by Soccer America and College Soccer News … Started both games at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, earning all-tournament honors … 2008: Started 22 games during 2008, scoring five goals … Named ACC Defensive Player of the Year … Earned All-ACC First Team honors … Finalist for the Soccer News Net College Player of the Year Award … Named first team All-American by TopDrawerSoccer.com and College Soccer News … Earned Second Team All-America honors from the NSCAA and Soccer America … 2007: Named Soccer America First Team All-Freshman … Selected to All-ACC Freshman Team … First collegiate goal was the tying mark in Wake’s 1-1 draw with Elon on 10/2.
High School/Club: Four-year letterman at C.E. Jordan High School … Three time all-conference selection … All-Piedmont Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior … MVP in 2005 and 2006 … Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman … All-Region selection in 2005 … Helped C.E. Jordan High to four conference championships … Played his club soccer for Triangle FC Navy 88 … Member of the North Carolina ODP team in 2007 … Three-time selection to the Super Y ODP … Named an Elite 300 All-Star.
Personal: Parents are Emmanuel and Clarice … Stayed at Wake Forest after the 2010 SuperDraft in order to finish up his junior year of classes, shuffling back and forth to North Carolina for midterms.