Know Your Strikers: Kamil Contofalsky
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers have a new veteran goalkeeper for this season in Kamil Contofalsky, who has years of experience playing at the top level in Europe and 34 appearances for the Slovakia national team.
Contofalsky is the first player from Slovakia to play in the current era North American Soccer League. The 36-year-old keeper replaces Oka Nikolov and brings plenty of European experience to the Strikers.
Contofalsky was part of the Zenit Saint Petersburg squad that won the UEFA Cup (now the UEFA Europa League) in 2007-08, followed by the UEFA Super Cup title a little over three months later. Zenit also won the 2008 Russian Super Cup and the 2007 Russian Premier League.
After playing with Zenit since 2003, the 6'3" keeper left Russia in 2009 and had stops in Cyprus with AEL Limassol and Greece with Larissa. Contofalsky then returned to the Czech Republic to start in net for Slavia Prague. It was his second stint in the Czech league where he also played for Bohemians 1905, another Prague-based team, more than a decade earlier in the late 1990s. In the Czech Republic, Contofalsky was named the best goalkeeper in the league and the best foreign player thanks to his outstanding one-on-one skills as the last line of defense.
Contofalsky started his soccer career in his native Slovakia in 1995 with AS Dukla Trenčín and also played for MFK Košice.
Here's a transcription of our Q&A session with Kamil:
1. If you were not a soccer player, what other profession do you think you would have pursued?
Kamil Contofalsky: Probably a hockey player, a very popular sport in Slovakia. It was going to be between soccer and hockey, growing up I liked both sports.
2. Since you've been here with the Strikers and in South Florida how do you find the team and the atmosphere?
KC: I found out from a friend that the Strikers were looking for a goalkeeper. The location here near Miami was great, I spoke with my fiancée and we agreed that this would be a good time to do this, to come and play here. So far I like it, the area is great.
3. Name one favorite moment that stands out in your soccer career.
KC: Winning the UEFA Cup with Zenith Saint Petersburg in 2008. Then, after two months we also won the European Super Cup. Also in 2007 we won the Russian title after a 24-year drought at the club.
4. What is your favorite hobby outside of soccer?
KC: I like playing golf, specially here in Florida. And also like wind surfing. I tried it when I played in Cypress and got to like it a lot.
5. Do you have a favorite music genre you listen to? Any favorite singer and/or band?
KC: I enjoy U2, I like Queen as well. Sting, Metallica and all kinds of music, really.
6. Any favorite sports besides soccer?
KC: Ice hockey. Just like it's a hobby, I also like watching the sport.
7. What is your favorite food here in South Florida?
8. Do you have a favorite color(s)?
KC: Black and white.
9. Which professional soccer league in the world do you consider to be the best?
KC: I would say between the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga.
10. Do you have a favorite soccer club -- or one that you may have cheered for while growing up?
KC: When I grew up I liked Borussia Dortmund from Germany. And also Newcastle United from England because Andy Cole was playing there.
11. Who is your favorite soccer player?
KC: I have to say I like two players: Gianluigi Buffon as a goalkeeper and Maradona as a field player.
12. Who has had an impact in your soccer career and how?
KC: I grew up without a father, so I would have to say my Uncle, who was a lawyer and we always talked about sports and he always encouraged me to pursue sports.