Jeff Parke is going home.
The veteran center back was traded by the Seattle Sounders to the Philadelphia Union Friday in exchange for an undisclosed amount of allocation money and a first-round pick in the 2013 MLS Supplement Draft. Parke, a Philadelphia-area native, was with the Sounders for the last three seasons after spending five seasons with the New York Red Bulls.
The 30-year-old Parke attended Drexel University in Philadelphia and grew up not far from where the Union's home stadium, PPL Park, is situated and had hoped for a move back to his home state for family reasons.
"Jeff has been a fantastic pro and valuable to our success as a team," Sounders co-owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer said in a team statement. "Sometimes family trumps soccer, and in this case, we were able to help Jeff get closer to his family. We wish Jeff well, and he will always have a place in Sounders history."
Parke, part of the Sounders' expansion draft class, played in 30 games for the Sounders this past season (29 starts), helping the club to its first-ever playoff series victory in a season that ended in the Western Conference finals at the hand of the eventual-champion Los Angeles Galaxy.
Parke was also a participant in the U.S. national team's January camp this past year, joining Seattle teammate Brad Evans as replacements for Omar Gonzalez and George John when they pulled out in favor of overseas loans. Parke earned his first and only cap with the USA at the end of that camp, coming on as a second-half substitute in a Jan. 25 friendly against Panama.
The Union, which just reacquired Sebastien Le Toux from New York on Thursday, now boast a center back corps featuring Parke, captain Carlos Valdes, Bakary Soumare and midfielder-turned-defender Amobi Okugo. The trade creates a void at the position for Seattle, which is left with Colombian Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni as central defenders who have MLS experience.
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