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From the pitches of Europe to the sunny skies of Florida

Former Zenit St. Petersburg's Keeper now playing for Tampa Bay of the NASL

St. Petersburg, Fla.- Goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky is excited to retire in sunny Florida.

The veteran Slovakian ‘keeper is cherishing the twilight of his career in the warm climate of Tampa Bay with the Rowdies of the North American Soccer League.

Contofalsky signed with Tampa Bay in February to a one-year contract.

“Its a dream destination for any football player from Europe,” said Contofalsky as he strolled off the training pitch in downtown St. Petersburg. “Especially before the end of my career, I didn’t have to decide too long.”

Over the course of his tenure with Zenit St.Petersburg, Contofalsky won six Russian Premier League titles in seven seasons between 2003-2009.

In 2008, the most successful season of his 18 year career, he carried Russian side Zenit St.Petersburg to two major championships.

The seasoned ‘keeper backstopped Zenit to both the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in a banner year for the Russian club.

“It was a really amazing experience and achievement,” said Contofalsky when he was asked about his time in Europe. “In Slovakia I’m the only football player to win the Europa Cup so its really a great feeling.”

Contofalsky, from Kosice, Slovakia, earned 35 international caps for his country.

“Of course it is an honour and a great experience,” said Contofalsky. “I started playing nationally in 2002 and for two or three years I was first choice goalie for Slovakia and it was a great honour.”

If Contofalsky wasn’t on the pitch, he’d be on the ice playing hockey, following in the footsteps of countrymen like Zdeno Chara and Tomas Koepecky.

Koepecky and Contofalsky have a close relationship, close enough for Contofalsky to lean on his friend for tickets to Florida Panther games.

“I actually know Koepecky quite well,” said Contofalsky when asked about his interest in hockey. “He gives me tickets to watch a game a few times.”

Having tasted success on the soccer pitches of Europe, Contofalsky realizes his career is nearing its end and is greatful to be healthy and playing the game he loves.

“Right now since I know this is my last years of my career I’m really starting to enjoy the game,” Contofalsky said when discussing retirement. “Beautiful weather, no clouds in the sky and plus I can still play football.”

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