Minnesota United FC has announced this evening that they have bought out the contract of defender Ike Opara. Effective immediately Opara will no longer occupy a spot on the club’s roster, senior or otherwise. However his contract will remain active through it’s December ending date.
“Despite concerted and ongoing efforts to resolve health concerns, we were not able to return Ike to match fitness on our timeline,” said MNUFC Chief Soccer Officer, Manny Lagos. “It has been a frustrating and disappointing period for all involved, made obvious by the fact that he was everything we wanted when he joined and played for the Club. He was selected as Defender of the Year during our playoff run season, and had earned a new contract. We are grateful for all he did on behalf of MNUFC, and hope that time will allow him a return to the game at which he has so excelled.”
Opara was named the 2019 MLS Defender of the Year Award and shortly after signed a new “multi-year” contract with Minnesota United. However Opara only made two appearances during the 2020 season. Those two were against Portland and San Jose in the Loons only two pre-pandemic matches of the season. Since then Opara has not made an appearance nor been named to a roster in league play, pre-season/friendlies, or even last years MLS Is Back Tournament.
The last 16 months Opara has typically been listed as “Undisclosed” in the pre-match injury reports, however he has not been listed in some of those reports during the 2021 season. By no longer occupying a spot this means he will no longer take one of the 20 senior spots on the MNUFC roster. This may prove valuable as the Loons now will have one unoccupied spot in as the league finishes it’s summer transfer window tonight.