Sporting Kansas City announced Wednesday that the club has signed defender Ike Opara to a new contract through 2017 with team options for 2018 and 2019.
Opara, 27, has recorded seven goals and three assists in 64 appearances across all competitions since joining Sporting Kansas City ahead of the 2013 campaign.
"We are very happy to be able to re-sign Ike to our club," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "We think he is a first-class individual and he has so much upside as a central defender. He showed a lot of consistency this past year and we hope that continues for years to come."
"Kansas City has been my home for the past four years and I'm excited to return for another season," Opara said. "I'm extremely thankful for all of the support the fans have showed me, and I'm eager to play in front of them alongside my great teammates."
A native of Durham, North Carolina, Opara posted MLS career-highs during the 2016 season with 25 games played and three assists while contributing to seven shutouts. He also finished 2016 as Sporting Kansas City’s regular season leader in clearances (75) and duel success rate (65.5%).
Opara opened his 2016 scoring account in a 3-1 win over New York City FC on July 10, seven days after notching his first career MLS assist on Matt Besler’s 91st-minute game-winner in a 3-2 victory over Columbus Crew SC. He added two more assists before season’s end, setting up Jacob Peterson’s strike in a 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on July 24 and coming off the bench to assist Kevin Ellis’ late winner against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 24.
In his first season with Sporting Kansas City, Opara was named the club’s Newcomer of the Year. He played 25 matches in all competitions and scored four goals — three in the regular season and one in the CONCACAF Champions League. He also appeared in three postseason matches during Sporting Kansas City’s run to the 2013 MLS Cup title.
Opara started four of five appearances in March 2014 before an ankle injury at the end of the month sidelined him for the rest of the year. He enjoyed an excellent start to 2015, earning six starts and scoring two goals en route to an MLS Player of the Month nomination in March, but suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in April.
Opara began his MLS career with the San Jose Earthquakes as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft out of Wake Forest University. The Generation adidas signing played 36 MLS matches for the team over three seasons, netting three goals and helping the club win the 2012 Supporters’ Shield. Opara enters 2017 with nine goals in 91 career MLS appearances (including playoffs).
On the international scene, Opara represented the United States at the U-23 level during the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. He also started all three matches for the U.S. at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt.
For a full list of Sporting Kansas City's offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/tracker.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Ike Opara to new contract through 2017 with team options for 2018 and 2019.
Ike Opara (oh-PAR-uh)
Born: 2/21/1989 (27 years old)
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hometown: Durham, North Carolina
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina
College: Wake Forest
Last Club: San Jose Earthquakes