SEATTLE – 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.
“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 United States 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 Major League Soccer.
The Sounders, like nearly every other team, elected to pass in the first stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
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 Friday.
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