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December 7, 2012
Ex-Bull defender returns home to play in Philly

Jeff Parke will realize a dream to play with the Philadelphia Union.
Jeff Parke will realize a dream to play with the Philadelphia Union.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
CHESTER, Pa. – Current and former Red Bulls don't retire or go to another team, they wind up with the Philadelphia Union.

For the second time in as many days, a player with Red Bull connections has joined the Major League Soccer Club.

On Friday, the Union acquired defender Jeff Parke, who grew up around the Philadelphia area, from Seattle Sounders FC for allocation money and a first round pick in the 2013 MLS supplemental draft. As per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

On Thursday, Philadelphia obtained former Union forward Sebastien Le Toux in a trade with the Red Bulls as the team sent Costa Rican forward Josue Martinez to New York.

“We are excited to have Jeff join our team," Union manager John Hackworth said in a statement. “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.”

The 30-year-old Parke, the final pick of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, was a solid performer as a central defender for the Red Bulls for five seasons until he was suspended for 10 games for accidentally taking a banned substance in 2008. The Red Bulls left Parke unprotected in the expansion draft and he was selected by the Sounders.

He played two seasons in Seattle after being signed in 2010. Parke was a mainstay in the Sounders’ starting lineup, appearing in 78 matches over three seasons. In a central defender role, Parke was instrumental in Seattle’s three consecutive MLS playoff appearances.

“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 in a statement. “I’m thrilled to join the organization and get started with the next chapter of my career.”

A native of Abington Pa. who played college soccer at Drexel led area soccer power Downingtown West High School to back-to-back PIAA state championships and played for the Union youth affiliate, FC DELCO.
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