Union captain and center back Carlos Valdes will be on loan with Independiente Santa Fe for all of 2013 with an option to purchase his contract outright, the Colombian club announced on its official website. The Union and MLS have yet to issue a statement regarding the move.
Valdes, a 2012 MLS All-Star and the leader of the Union's defensive unit, initially joined the Union on loan from Santa Fe in 2011 before Philadelphia secured his full rights. In his two seasons in MLS, the 27-year-old Valdes started all 65 of the regular season games in which he played, becoming one of the more dependable center backs in the league. He also made two postseason starts in 2011.
With Valdes on his way out, Philadelphia manager John Hackworth figures to turn to Parke and former MLS Best XI defender Bakary Soumare in central defense. Amobi Okugo, who was converted into a center back from his place in central midfield, showed well in defense last season and is another candidate to step in for Valdes.
Valdes is the second high-profile Colombian MLS player to depart the league for a loan in his homeland, with striker Fredy Montero going on loan from the Seattle Sounders to Millonarios for 2013. Both players will be given the chance to compete in the Copa Libertadores while hoping for greater exposure to national team boss Jose Pekerman in the final year of CONMEBOL qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.