Sporting KC defender Opara to undergo surgery for season-ending injury

Ike Opara

Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara will undergo surgery on April 16 to repair a chondral defect in his right ankle and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2014 season, the club announced on Thursday.

Opara suffered the serious season-ending injury in the 57th minute of Sporting Kansas City’s 3-2 victory at Colorado on March 29 in a collision with Rapids defender Jared Watts.

Opara has made 60 MLS appearances (including postseason) in five professional seasons since being selected No. 3 overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.

Sporting Kansas City acquired Opara prior to the 2013 season and the 25-year-old centerback has played 30 games in all competition for the club over the last two years.

Opara has been a key contributor for teams that have won the NCAA National Championship (Wake Forest, 2007), Supporters’ Shield (San Jose, 2012) and MLS Cup (Sporting Kansas City, 2013).

He represented the United States at the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and was most recently a member of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team.

Wednesday’s surgery will be performed under the care of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Matthew Kneidel.

Blue Devils collect 16 hits in 21st win of season

by Alan Hoskins

Pounding out 16 hits in an 11-4 win over Saint Mary’s JV Tuesday, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s baseball focus immediately swung back to Jayhawk Conference play.

At home to Labette for a 1 p.m. doubleheader today, the Blue Devils face a return meeting with Labette in Parsons Saturday.

Six Blue Devils had two hits each as the Blue Devils improved to 21-17.

Garret McKinzie doubled twice, Tyler Raymond doubled and singled and Lucas Norton, Mitch Glessner, Sam Baxter and Alex Thrower had two singles each.

KCKCC jumped in front early, scoring twice in the first on a single by Norton, double by Raymond, Christian Arnold’s sacrifice fly and Glessner’s RBI single and added single runs in the second and third.

Zane Mapes’ squeeze bunt scored Thrower in the second; Glessner drove in his second run after a McKinzie double in the third.

McKinzie and Arnold had back-to-back doubles in a 2-run fifth; two more scored on singles by Norton and Raymond and an error in the sixth; and the final three crossed in the seventh on singles by Baxter , Hunter Walsh, Tanner Foerschler, hit batsman and an error.

Three Blue Devil hurlers combined on a 5-hitter in the 9-inning contest.

Starter Spencer Nielsen gave up just one hit and no earned runs in four innings; Derek Watkins retired six of the first seven eight hitters he faced before St. Mary broke through for three runs and three hits in the seventh; and Jonathan May finished up, allowing one hit and striking out two in 2.2 innings.

KCKCC names men’s assistant soccer coach

Burke Slusher (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins  

As the new assistant men’s coach, Burke Slusher brings more than 20 years of coaching and playing experience to the Kansas City Kansas Community College soccer program.

The assistant to head coach Ruben Rodriguez, Slusher comes to KCKCC after serving as the assistant coach for men and women at William Jewell College.

“I played with Tait Einerson (KCKCC women’s assistant coach) and was familiar with Coach Rodriguez reputation in coaching so it was an easy decision to come here,” Slusher said. “Also, everyone wants the program to go in the right direction.”

A native of the Kansas City area, Slusher grew up in the northland, attending and playing at North Kansas City High School.  He played collegiate soccer for Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University).

Slusher coached youth with the KC Pace soccer club, winning Missouri state championships in 2005 and 2007, and served as an associate head coach and director of goalkeeping for the Kansas City Brass PDL from 2002-2013.

In addition, Slusher has been a coach for the Wizards youth training program, Missouri ODP identification camps, William Jewell goalkeeping camp director, and a talent evaluator for Sporting KC and FC Kansas City open tryouts.