Sounders FC had to weigh financial and family considerations in Friday's trade of Jeff Parke, the team's two-time Defender of the Year, to Philadelphia.
For Sounders FC, offseason change was inevitable.
The team was too constrained by the MLS salary cap to bring back every player for 2013, and the first casualty came Friday, when Jeff Parke — Seattle’s two-time Defensive Player of the Year — was traded to the Philadelphia Union for allocation money and a first-round pick in January’s supplemental draft.
But there was more to it than just financial considerations.
Parke, 30, will soon be starting a family with his wife, Jennifer, and wanted to move closer to home. The eight-year MLS veteran is a native of the Philadelphia area and attended college at nearby Drexel.
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“It is a dream come true to be able to come home and play in front of my hometown fans and the Union faithful,” Parke said on the Union’s website. “I’m thrilled to join the organization and get started with the next chapter of my career.”
Parke, who earned his first U.S. national team call-up in January, ranked third on Sounders FC with 2,568 minutes this season. He was the mainstay of a defense that allowed 33 goals, second-fewest in MLS, and was recently rated the league’s third-best center back by Soccer America.
“Jeff has been a fantastic pro and valuable to our success as a team,” said Adrian Hanauer, part owner and general manger, in a news release. “Sometimes family trumps soccer, and in this case, we were able to help Jeff get closer to his family.”
The situation is similar to what happened after the 2011 season, when midfielder Erik Friberg asked to be transferred to a team in his native Sweden, where he could start a family with his girlfriend.
Quiet start to re-entry draft
Sounders FC, like nearly every other team, elected to pass in the first stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Friday.
Chicago made the only pick, selecting former D.C. United forward Maicon Santos. The second stage, which typically sees more action because teams can negotiate new contracts with selected players, is Dec. 14.
O’Brian White withdrew from the process before the draft, meaning his MLS rights will be retained by Seattle as the forward continues his comeback efforts from recurring blood clots in his left leg.
• Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was voted team MVP by his teammates for a third straight season, Sounders FC announced Friday. Parke was voted Defender of the Year, Eddie Johnson won the Golden Boot for his team-high 14 goals (a franchise record), and David Estrada was named Humanitarian of the Year.
• Voting to retain or remove Hanauer was scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. Friday, with season-ticket holders and Alliance members eligible to participate. The results will be announced during an end-of-the-year business meeting Thursday. Hanauer is expected to be retained.