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Taylor-Parkes verbally commits to Virginia

U-16 forward Raheem Taylor-Parkes has verbally committed to the University of Virginia for 2016.

Union fans will still have a rooting interest at the University of Virginia after Academy alum Darius Madison finishes his senior season in Charlottesville this year.

U-16 forward Raheem Taylor-Parkes verbally committed to join the program for the 2016 season on Sunday.

The Canadian-born Taylor-Parkes joined the Union Academy last fall after playing for Brandon FC in Florida and Toronto FC's Academy. The 17-year-old trialed with Arsenal FC's Academy in England when he was 14 and has represented the U.S. and Canada on the youth international level.

He's played 19 games for the U-16 team in Development Academy play and scored 6 goals, including a goal in a 2-1 loss to the Red Bulls on Saturday. His dramatic extra-time winner in February put the Union into the 2015 Generation Adidas Cup finals.

The George Gelnovatch-coached Virginia Cavaliers are fresh off the program's seventh national championship, which they won on penalties over UCLA in December. Union rookie midfielder Eric Bird captained the team and Madison scored the only goal the Cavaliers needed to advance to the final and win the College Cup.

Taylor-Parkes is one of three U-16 players who have verbally committed to programs in the ACC, college soccer's traditional powerhouse. Jack Skahan and Auston Trusty have both verbally committed to North Carolina. Goalkeeper Andrew Verdi recently committed to Big 10 program Michigan.