The week of Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft is always a fun time.
It comes in the thick of a FIFA international transfer window, adding to the allure of what might be for fans of their favorite clubs. And while the draft brings its own brand of intrigue, watching clubs make moves to improve – smart moves outside the norm – over the next 72 hours brings even more excitement.
Such is the case with decisions made by the Union technical staff in the past 24 hours to acknowledge a request by Jeff Parke. The journeyman MLS defender asked to leave the Philadelphia for reasons deemed as “personal ” in a statement sent out by the club Tuesday morning. Parke was sent to D.C. United in exchange 23-year-old central defender Ethan White.
In addition to White, the Union wriggled the top spot in allocation order away from United giving Philadelphia a first right of refusal – but most likely a jump on acquiring – the next American based player looking to return to Major League Soccer.
As for Parke, he expressed his gratitude for the club he spent one season with holding down the Union back line and helping the club reach its best ever win total (12) in franchise history.
“I want to express how incredible it was for me to represent such great team, city and group of supporters," the Abington native said in a statement. "For reasons that I can only describe as a personal matter, I am leaving my home town and this great club. This has been an extremely difficult decision for me, but I want to thank the Union fans, coaches, players, staff and the fans for helping make last year awesome while playing for my hometown club.”
The move comes on the heels of a phone conference with the press held by Union manager John Hackworth Monday where he discussed considerable movement being imminent leading into Thursday’s SuperDraft.
“There's a lot that's going to happen, it's going to be a very fluid process,” Hackworth said. “Some of that might shake down before we actually get to the draft, and then there is definitely going to be some movement within the draft.”
Reports began to leak Tuesday surrounding potential names the Union could take with this top pick in allocation. Earlier this week, the club confirmed reports of discussions taking place to acquire midfielders Vincent Noguiera and Christian Maidana.
“In this business you need to have an eye on what the long term plan is,” Hackworth said. “[As a technical staff], we look to make transfers and build up some resources to better ourselves."
The beauty for this club is that it is still the offseason – still two months before the Union open the 2014 campaign.
A solid chunk of time to make sure the right moves are made to better a club with high aspirations of making the postseason and contending for an MLS Cup crown.
It’s a notion the latest addition to the Union is excited about. Shortly after the announcement of the deal White took to social media and posted via Twitter:
Great place to land. Let's make some great memories! #DOOP— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) January 14, 2014
As for Parke, his next stop is the nation’s capital where he looks to begin a career going into its ninth season.
“My heart and home are in Philly and you have all been fantastic to me from day one,” said Parke. “I will miss you [supporters] and want you to know how grateful I will always be to everyone who made my experience here such a memorable one."
What do you think of this move? Leave a note in the comments below.
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org