Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Michael Parkhurst is on his way back to Major League Soccer, but it won’t be with his hometown club.
The Columbus Crew announced on Monday that they had acquired the rights of the U.S. Men’s National Team defender in a trade with the New England Revolution and signed him, pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate (ITC). Parkhurst was acquired by the Crew in exchange for the fourth overall selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and an undisclosed amount of allocation money.
“We are excited to be adding a top quality player like Michael to our club,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “He is an elite player that will have an immediate impact both on and off the field. Michael’s success in Major League Soccer, combined with his proven experience in Europe and with the U.S. Men’s National Team make him a valuable piece for our team.”
The trade was first reported by Goal.com on Sunday evening. On early Monday morning, FC Augsburg released a statement saying that they had mutually agreed with Parkhurst to annul his contract, paving a path for his return to MLS.
“Michael Parkhurst wants to play for the U.S. national team and take part in the World Cup in Brazil,” FC Augsburg sporting director Stefan Reuter said in a press release. “Therefore, we have jointly agreed to terminate the contract. We wish him not only sporting but also privately all the best for the future.”
Parkhurst’s tumultuous time at Augsburg came after four strong years in the Danish Superliga with FC Nordsjælland, where he was a regular as a right back. Parkhurst made at least 20 league starts in his three full seasons with Nordsjælland and started all six of the club’s UEFA Champions League matches in 2012 before moving to Augsburg.
At Augsburg, the 29-year-old defender found himself much farther down the depth chart than expected, making only two appearances total in the last 12 months, with both of those coming last season. Parkhurst did not join his Augsburg teammates at their winter training camp in Gran Canaria, facilitating his mutual release from the club.
Prior to moving to Europe, Parkhurst was a star at center back for the Revolution, winning MLS Rookie of the Year in 2005 and MLS Defender of the Year and Best XI honors in 2007.
Parkhurst’s return to MLS represents the third-such move in the last five months of USMNT players returning to MLS in search of either more playing time, a better salary, or both ahead of the 2014 World Cup. Both Clint Dempsey (last August) and Michael Bradley (last Thursday) completed moves to the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC, respectively.
The Crew are looking to replace their starting center back duo from last year after parting ways with Glauber and trading Chad Marshall to the Seattle Sounders.
What do you think of this news? Glad to see Parkhurst back in MLS? Do you feel that Parkhurst is an adequate replacement for Marshall? Did the Revolution receive enough in return?
Share your thoughts below.