The club’s longest tenured player has finally become it’s No. 1.
After spending eight seasons with Sporting Kansas City, during which he only started four league matches, goalkeeper Eric Kronberg was named the club’s first choice between the pipes.
Although Kronberg spent the last four seasons behind Danish goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, he said the opportunity to be the starting keeper is one he welcomes.
“It’s obviously very exciting,” Kronberg said. “That’s where I wanted to progress to in my career, but at the same time being named No. 1 is a great honor, but I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. It definitely drives me to be better and to help the team out as much as I can.”
Kronberg was drafted by the then-Kansas City Wizards — changed their name to Sporting Kansas City in 2011 — out of California in 2006. He would go on loan with Miami FC during his first year with the club, and has been with Sporting as a backup since.
Last season Kronberg served as backup for a squad that finished the season second in the league and won the MLS Cup against Real Salt Lake 1-1 (7-6).
The year before Sporting won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and finished first in the Eastern Conference before bowing out in the conference semifinals against the Houston Dynamo.
Kronberg said being involved with a side that won the MLS Cup was a special experience for him, since the club hadn’t won it since he was in college.
“I’ve been with Kansas City for a long time and up until last year we hadn’t won a whole lot,” Kronberg said. “Winning the Open Cup was fantastic last year, but obviously the main goal for our club was to get that MLS Cup Championship, and achieving that was a dream come true for everyone in the organization. Everyone from the fans up to the owners, I think everyone is very happy.”
In 2013 Kronberg featured in six matches, including all four of the club’s CONCACAF Champions League group stage matches, during which he only allowed one goal.
During his time in college Kronberg spent time with his local NPSL club, the Sonoma County Sol.
“The Sol was a cool team I played for. I played for them in the summers between my Berkley years,” Kronberg said. “It was kind of a way to stay in shape and get some games in during a downtime for college sport. The Sol was cool because it was a lot of kids I grew up playing with my club team in Santa Rosa, and it was great to play with those guys. It’s always fun to go home and hangout with those guys and play with them. It was fun to play with them with the Sol.”
With the MLS SuperDraft having recently passed and young players coming into the league Kronberg gave some simple advice to the newcomers.
“Just to play your game, don’t try and do too much,” Kronberg said. “A lot of kids try and do too much, maybe dribble more than they need to or a goalkeeper tries to do something he wouldn’t do during a game and that’s when they get caught out of position. My advice is just to play your game, play the way you know how to play.”
Although Kronberg won’t get his career as the No. 1 underway until March 8 when Sporting travels to Seattle to take on the Sounders, the team is set to kick off its preseason Jan. 28 against FC Tucson.