It's official, the Philadelphia Union have brought a local boy home.
The Union and the Seattle Sounders announced that a trade that will send Jeff Parke to the Union has been processed by Major League Soccer. Seattle will receive allocation money and a first round pick in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft.
Parke was rumored to want to move back to the East Coast and the Sounders accomplished that request by dealing him to the Union. The center defender grew up in Downington, PA, played for FC Delco and a standout with the Drexel Dragons in college.
"Sometimes family trumps soccer, and in this case, we were able to help Jeff get closer to his family," Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said in Seattle's press release on the trade.
The ability to play in front of his hometown fans was an exciting proposition for Parke when thinking about a move away from the Sounders.
"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 to PhiladelphiaUnion.com. " I'm thrilled to join the organization and get started with the next chapter of my career."
A dust up between Parke and head coach Sigi Schmid caused some friction at the start of the 2012 Major League Soccer season because of Schmid's decision to bench the 30-year-old early for "tired legs." Parke ended up playing in 30 games, starting 29 of them, and was near the top of the team in minutes played with 2568 minutes.
Union head coach John Hackworth cited Parke's leadership qualities and on the field ability as the reasons for why the Union went out and acquired him despite already having Carlos Valdes, Bakary Soumare and Amobi Okugo on the team's roster.
"We are excited to have Jeff join our team.", said Hackworth to the team's official website. "He is one of the top center backs in the League. His character and experiences as both a person and a player will definitely be welcomed in our locker room."
Parke was originally linked to the Union by the Brotherly Game, then the Goalkeeper in a report on the trade today. He's played for the New York Red Bulls, Vancouver Whitecaps and Sounders in his eight year career in North American soccer.