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December 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Jeff Parke traded to Philadelphia Union for allocation money, 2013 draft pick

parke mug 2012.jpgWe first heard a report Sunday that Philadelphia was interested in Sounders FC’s Jeff Parke. Now a trade is official, and Seattle received allocation money and a first-round pick in the 2013 supplemental draft (essentially a third-round pick, overall) in exchange for the 30-year-old defender.

Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com was first to report the move.

The trade marks a homecoming for Parke (a native of Downingtown, Pa., and product of Philadelphia’s Drexel University), who is starting a family with his wife.

“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 Union news release. “I’m thrilled to join the organization and get started with the next chapter of my career.”

I had talked to Parke several weeks ago about his contract expiring, and he made a point of mentioning his family would be key in a decision on his future.

“It’s business,” he told me when asked if he has strong feelings whether or not he stays in Seattle. “I understand that. It’s part of the game and I’ve been around long enough to see how the league goes and how the teams are. This is a great team, and that’s what I want to be a part of, but at the end of the day, it’s about my family, their organization and what we can do.”

The Sounders have admitted to being constrained by the salary cap heading into the 2013 season, so certain moves were going to have to be made. Parke made $185,325 last year, so being free of that salary and receiving allocation money could be a big help from a financial aspect.

On the field, Parke had been the Sounders’ best defender the past two seasons. Soccer America recently rated him as the third-best center back in the league after this year.

“We would like to thank Jeff for his outstanding contributions to Sounders FC,” said Adrian Hanauer, part owner and general manager, in a news release. “Jeff has been a fantastic pro and valuable to our success as a team. Sometimes family trumps soccer, and in this case, we were able to help Jeff get closer to his family. We wish Jeff well and he will always have a place in Sounders history.”

Midfielder Brad Evans is now the lone survivor of Seattle’s expansion draft before the 2009 season, which also included Parke, Nate Jaqua, Nathan Sturgis, Stephen King, James Riley, Tyson Wahl, Peter Vagenas, Jarrod Smith and Khano Smith.

What do you think of the move?

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