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RISING STAR: Wake Forest's Ike Opara
by Bryan Alvarez, October 21st, 2008 1:15PM

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SOCCER AMERICA profiles Ike Opara, one of the nation's top sophomores. Opara started on Wake Forest's 2007 national championship team and is considered one of the top pro prospects among college soccer's underclassmen. He is also a member of the U.S. under-20 national team.

POSITION: Defender
AGE: 19
COLLEGE: Wake Forest
CLASS: Sophomore
HOMETOWN: Durham, N.C.
HIGH SCHOOL: Jordan High School
YOUTH CLUB: Triangle FC Navy 88
INTERNATIONAL: U-20s (USA)
STARTING OUT: My dad was my youth coach. My family is from Nigeria. That's how I got started and I'm still playing.
EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: I remember finally winning a club tournament with the U-13s. My Dad retired from coaching after that. He wanted go out on top. We still laugh about that.
FIRST CLEATS: I've had all types and all styles. I remember my first pair of Nike Total 90 Lasers. I've had every version since then.
CURRENT CLEATS: Nike Total 90 Lasers.
OTHER SPORTS: Up until junior and senior year, it was soccer and basketball.
FAVORITE TEAMS: Manchester United, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers and the Carolina Panthers.
FAVORITE PLAYER: Andre Iguodala from the 76ers, Kobe Bryant from the L.A. Lakers and Nemanja Vidic from Man U.
FAVORITE MOVIES: Any Denzel Washington movie.
FAVORITE ACTOR: Denzel Washington.
FAVORITE ACTRESS: Angelina Jolie.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Entourage.
COLLEGE EXPERIENCE: It's been good. I've got no complaints. The soccer and academics have been great. It's one of the best schools in the country.
MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH: My club coaches, Marlow Campbell and Dewan Bader.
MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): No matter where you play, the game is always the same.
HOBBIES: Basketball, sleeping and video games. I like playing NCAA Football and Winning XI.
MUSIC: Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and NAS.
READING: "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor is my favorite book. I'm not a big reader now.
VACATION: I've always wanted to see Spain. I want to go to Madrid and Barcelona. I'd like to catch a game between Barcelona and Madrid, too!
FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Eva Mendes.



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