Texas-native Parks signs new Benfica deal

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Weeks after making his first team debut with the Portuguese giants, the 20-year-old midfielder signed a deal to keep him at the club until 2022

American youngster Keaton Parks has signed a new deal at Benfica to keep him at the club until 2022, the Portuguese giants announced Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Texas native joined Benfica during the summer and has played the majority of the season with the club’s B side. However he made his first team debut last month, coming on in a Taca de Portugal match against Vitoria Setubal.

The midfielder has yet to make an appearance in the Portuguese Liga.

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“I feel great. I'm very excited to start a new journey at Benfica — continue my journey with Benfica — and get my chance in the A team and in the B team as I move forward,” Keaton Parks told BenficaTV.

Parks left the United States after high school and joined Portuguese second-division side Varzim last season. He played in 10 games in the second-division last year, scoring two goals, before leaving to join Benfica this past summer.

“It was a new team. I didn't have a lot of expectations, I didn't know what to expect. But it has been an amazing experience playing with the B team and getting my opportunity with the A team as well. It’s been great — training with them every day, playing in the games on the weekend — it’s has been good," Parks said.

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With the B side this year, Parks has made 11 appearances and also scored two goals.

“All the coaches have helped me a lot. With the B team and players they talk to me a lot, they help me out and I think I’ve evolved a lot since I’ve come here to Benfica,” Parks said.

With the new deal, Parks knows he will continue with the B side but hopes to parlay that into more chances to play with the first team, saying: “To continue at Benfica, work very hard, and, if everything goes well, have more opportunities in the first team, more minutes in matches and prove myself.”

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