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Soccer News of Saturday, 9 May 2015

Source: Goal.com

Kofi Opare snubs Ghana for Canada

Ghanaian-born defender Kofi Opare has submitted application for Canadian citizenship in order to be eligible for the country’s national team.

The 24-year-old of American side D.C. United has been a pillar at the back for his club since joining in 2014 and is currently one of the best stoppers in Major Soccer League.

Born at Mampong near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Opare is yet to be capped by the West African nation at any level, and despite the fact that he can also represent the United States, he insists on featuring for Canada.

“I’m definitely interested in playing for Canada, if I got the opportunity,” Opare told MLSsoccer.com.

He spent his early childhood in Ghana and lived in South Africa and New Jersey before moving to Canada in 2006 with his family and settling in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where he attended high school. He studied at University of Michigan in the United States before joining LA Galaxy in 2013.

Opare holds a permanent resident status but recently submitted paperwork to Canadian immigration in the hope of acquiring full citizenship.

“I feel an alliance to Canada, having lived there, and it’s where my family still lives. So there is that connection to Canada,” he said. “That’s why I want to get this [citizenship process] rolling and get this done.”

He has started five of eight league games so far for D.C. United, who are in a three-way tie for first in MLS with just six goals allowed this year.

“I’m just happy to contribute to the team’s success. Obviously, with injuries come opportunities, and I’m just glad to be able to help the team," he said.

“I haven’t represented another nation on the senior men’s level and so Fifa eligibility should not be an issue, from my understanding.”

The former LA Galaxy player holds Ghanaian and U.S. citizenship, but his interest remains with the Canadian program because of the leadership of the team’s coach Benito Floro, according to him.

“You can really see how the team is turning around under Floro’s leadership and his staff,” said Opare. “That excites me, and it’s part of the reason I want to join the team.”

Should he succeed eventually, Opare would pair with countryman Nana Attakorah who also chose Canada ahead of Ghana.