By GRANT CZUBINSKI – USLSoccer.com Contributor
Friday, February 19, 2016
Preparations for the start of the 2016 USL season are ramping up. Clubs are well into their preseasons, and players are beginning to create chemistry with one another. The start of the new season presents a blank slate for all of the clubs vying for the right be crowned champions come seasons end.
For Swope Park Rangers forward Kris Tyrpak, the beginning of the 2016 season offers an additional perk – a fresh start.
Tyrpak, the 2013 PDL Most Valuable Player, has been somewhat of a soccer nomad during the first two years of his professional career. After being drafted 40th overall by Chivas USA in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Tyrpak spent one season with the Los Angeles-based club before it folded. He then played the 2015 USL season with the Austin Aztex, where he scored nine goals and provided two assists before the club went on hiatus. Following the Aztex’s first USL season, Tyrpak latched on with the San Antonino Scorpions, only for the club to dissolve at the end of 2015.
Going into the offseason, Tyrpak was a man-for-hire wondering where he would play next. He did not have to wait long for the answer, though, as the Swope Park brass quickly sought his services for their inaugural year in the USL.
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Before signing with Swope Park in December, none of Tyrpak’s previous club environments proved beneficial to his career development, but the Dripping Springs, Texas native is hoping that this upcoming season with the Kansas City club will provide him with an atmosphere of stability and regular playing time. He has been pleased with what Swope Park has offered since he signed.
“Everything I’ve wanted has been provided for me. Everything I’ve needed has been provided for me, and then some,” he said this week. “It’s been a great experience so far. The training staff is always there for you. If you have any problems, any questions they say, ‘just give us a text. We’re always there, 24 hours a day if you need us.’ Every team I’ve been with, it’s not been like that.”
If Swope Park offers anything for Tyrpak, it is stability. With the Sporting Kansas City organization running the Swope Park club, there is no threat to the club’s future existence. With that sense of permanency in his pocket, Tyrpak is ready to use his experience to help Swope Park achieve their goals this season.
“From the head coach of the first team to our head coach to the training staff, everybody is in it for the long haul, and they want to build a championship-winning USL team,” he said. We all agreed that our goal this first year is definitely to make the playoffs. When it comes down to it, if you get into the postseason, anything can happen at that point.”
As far as personal goals, Tyrpak – a forward who has scored goals at the top four levels of the U.S. soccer pyramid in his short career, from PDL to MLS – keeps them simple.
“[The goal is] to come in, start to play on a regular basis, and score goals,” he said. “That’s what I am here to do, to score goals and to help win games.”
On Wednesday night, Tyrpak got right to work, as he scored the opening goal in SPR’s 3-1 victory against the Colorado Rapids, the same club he scored his first goal in MLS against for Chivas USA two years ago.
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With Tyrpak and Dane Kelly up top, coupled with experienced USL players like Christian Duke and Jacob VanCompernolle, the Rangers appear to be a formidable side. Tyrpak says that collective experience has allowed the newly-formed squad to jell quickly during preseason.
“It’s going great. Everybody here gets along great,” he said. “There’s been a few guys who have been in the league before, so they kind of know what we’re going to playing up against. Everybody is confident. [Head Coach] Marc [Dos Santos} has done a great job of putting the team together so far this first week. We’re all getting the system down really fast, and hopefully we can implement that in some of the games this preseason.”
As Swope Park is fast approaching its first preseason games, Tyrpak is eager to show fans in Kansas City what he brings to the table. On a different type of table, the Texas native is eager to see how Kansas City stacks up in the barbeque realm.
“I’m definitely looking forward to trying some Kansas City barbecue,” he said. “I’ve heard it’s good. I’m from Texas, so the comparison is always there, and I am looking forward to seeing which is actually better. I’m a bit biased at the moment, but anything can happen.”
Now that Tyrpak has found a sense of permanence and a home in Kansas City, the young Texan is ready to hit the ground running with Swope Park Rangers the only way he knows how.“I am definitely going to fight every single game, from the first minute until the 90th minute, I’ll leave it all on the field,” he said. “The fans, when they show up, they’re going to appreciate how we play. I am looking forward to it.”