Thursday, December 18, 2014

Philadelphia Union acquires Abington native and Drexel product Jeff Parke

Jeff Parke (left). (AP file photo)
Jeff Parke (left). (AP file photo)

After bringing fan favorite Sébastien Le Toux back to town, the Philadelphia Union made another move that has a distinct local flavor.

The team has acquired veteran central defender and Abington, Pa., native Jeff Parke via a trade with the Seattle Sounders. In return, the Union have given up an undisclosed amount of allocation money and a 2013 Supplemental Draft pick.

Parke has spent eight years in MLS: the last three in Seattle, and five before that in New York. The then-MetroStars picked him with the very last selection in the 2004 SuperDraft.

He has spent his entire pro career in MLS, and has played 210 games as a professional - including at least 20 every season.

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In a press release issued by the team, Union manager John Hackworth called Parke "one of the top center backs" in MLS.

“We are excited to have Jeff join our team," Hackworth said. "His character and experiences as both a person and a player will definitely be welcomed in our locker room.” 

This past season, Parke earned a guaranteed salary of $185,325. That is less than veteran Union central defenders Bakary Soumaré ($280,000) and Carlos Valdés ($268,000), and a bit more than Generation Adidas product Amobi Okugo ($173,000).

Parke's local roots go well beyond simply having grown up in the area. He played college soccer at Drexel University. The 31-year-old still has family in the Philadelphia region, and he still carries a pronounced Philadelphia accent.

"It is a dream come true to be able to come home and play in front of my hometown fans,” Parke said. "I'm thrilled to join the organization and get started with the next chapter of my career.” 

Prior to his time at Drexel, Parke played at Downingtown High School and for renowned local youth soccer club FC Delco.

In recent months, Parke has been rumored to be seeking a move back to the East Coast. Among the reasons is that his wife is pregnant, and is soon expecting their first child.

In formally announcing the trade, Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer acknowledged that Parke's family situation played a role in the move.

"Sometimes family trumps soccer," Hanauer said in a press release. "In this case, we were able to help Jeff get closer to his family."

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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