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Crew sign Parkhurst after shipping first-round pick and cash to Revolution

Michael Parkhurst

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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 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.


  1. Smart move by Parkhurst. He can show everyone how much better he is than Brad Evans who doesn’t even play right back and is mediocre at every position.

  2. I think this was another bad move by the cheap Revolution organization. The bottom line is the Revs are not going to pay anybody 300K so see ya… give us those cheap draft picks

    • NE did all right last year. Heaps and Burns have done better than I expected. Parkhurst wasn’t any higher than the #4 pick when he was drafted, plus they get cash, plus they didn’t need another defender and are looking for an attacking player. I’d say it’s a good deal for both teams.

  3. Will him and Bradley attend camp?
    I understand they need to move, settle their families, etc. but it still gives them some time to attend camp before team camps start.

  4. Why not an American Team in the premier league?

    Developmentally, it would be best to have the country’s upcoming internationals competing together against the best in the world. The solution it seems is to form a group to buy a lower league team in England. It wouldn’t have to be exclusively american but it would favor american signings. At a time when much of the US public is just being exposed to european soccer, this would immediately become the default team. With proper marketing it could be financially successful and with proper play promoted to the premier league within four years.

    Maybe we start a Kickstarter campaign to get this thing rolling and get to colonizing some obscure footablling town in England.

    • I hope that you are being facetious. If not, I wouldn’t even get into the EU and UK labor laws that would block it. Let alone, would the FA even let you pull an American version of Chivas USA — no.

      • it can be done with just half of US players (5-6) I think it would pass. Of course if we have top flight players they won’t go there. I can see us bouncing between league level 2 and 3 and our best players could be sold to level 1.

    • a rich American needs to buy say a WIGAN or Nottingham Forest and stack it with US players. Dempsey, Bradley, Jozy, Howard, etc.

      Win promotion to the PL and you’ll get millions of US FANS supporting “de facto US team”. and as long as they are not relegated, all will be fine

      • Call me crazy, but seems to me the best path to long term success of the game in this country is to have rich Americans looking to invest in the game do so in our own league in our own country…. with all the benefits of players, profits, developmental $, live games, TV contracts staying put and reaping rewards here..

      • It’s too bad that rich Americans that own the MLS have agreed to limit their investment into players/talent by imposing a 2.95 mil salary cap per club. You can have Bill Gates buy an MLS club and he won’t be able to field the team with Dempsey, Bradley, Jozy and Howard, as the previous poster suggested – at most he would be able to bring 3 players through DP slots.

      • The more deep pocketed owners that come into the league, the sooner the salary cap is raised. I would bet we see it increased sometime very soon and then again within 5 years.

      • I don’t know about that. I brought the best American player to Roma and he couldn’t quite cut it.
        We sold him to some suckers in Canada for a bunch of money LOL.
        When they told me how much they were offering for him I couldn’t sign the papers fast enough. LOL

      • The English FA would as never allow it, as they think there’s too many foreign players already. The English press would also throw a fit as they already complain about the number of American owners all the time.

      • Mr i,

        Rich Americans already “own” Roma, Liverpool, Manchester United, Aston Villa, Fulham, and are involved with Arsenal and Chelsea. I may be missing some. So where are all the American players?

    • It would never happen because work permit rules would make it too hard to accumulate an XI much less a roster. You’d also suffer a fate worse than Rangers and be shipped down to the bottom umpteenth division where FC United of Manchester and AFC Wimbledon booted up. You’d have to make finances playing semi-pro teams for several years until you made the League portion of the pyramid, and if you got promoted every year for ten years you might be EPL Year 10.

      I also think that Chivas is what happens when you try to slap together a foreign concept team in another country’s league and neglect the domestic players or the effectiveness of your style with limited personnel in another league.

      That being said, it’s not unprecedented, you have some “foreign” teams in the US minors, some of which stock heavily domestic, and you also have teams like Yokohoma FC Hong Kong.

  5. So all of these USMNT players that we track abroad and feature for the full team during matches are coming back to MLS. It will certainly help me to watch more, because it’s familiar names that I’ve seen play. But I can’t help but think what I’m missing, and what others are missing, by ignoring MLS players who never go overseas to build their resume, but are probably equally adept on the international level.

    I doubt it, but maybe this will start to change.

  6. if only they would raise the salary cap to 5-6 million. Being able to pay quality journeymen type players the 150k-250k the market requires would do wonders to strengthen the league. The league is already becoming a destination for central american players, but we could quickly become a destination for south american players if we could pay a little more. I feel like a proud parent watching the baby take it’s first steps on some level. The only leagues we should really be pushing our players to play in are portugal, la liga, bundesliga, serie a, EPL, and Ligue 1. All the other leagues are either below MLS(austrian bundesliga, Scandinavian), on par with(belgium, swiss, championship, Scotland), or above to a point where the benefits of playing there are minimal(turkey, Russia,eredivisie).

    • Actually there is a new CBA being negotiated right now according to some tweet I read, so you may get your wish (or at least another move in that direction).

    • Given that MLS’s new TV deal is more than double its previous, and the new player CBA will be negotiated this year, I would not be surprised if the cap was dramatically increased. No way the cap would increase from $2.95 million to $5 million, but an increase of $500k-750k wouldn’t come as a shock.

      • The salary cap is actually $3.10 million for the 2014 season (the previous CBA called for 5% annual increases between 2010 and 2014).

        As for where the cap moves to, I’ll be pretty shocked (and disappointed) if it only increases by $500k to $750k. Could happen, but given what we’ve just seen with TV revenues, the continued addition of new SSS, expansion, and the addition of more aggressive ownership groups I’d expect that MLS will allow owners to spend freely. I don’t know if that necessarily means that the cap is increased by x dollars, they tweak the DP rule, etc. However, I’d be shocked if they just increased the cap by a half million and called it a day.

    • I have the best solution, of course, but MLS never asks me. Remove one DP and allow all the teams who want to do so to spend DP money (say a set $5 or 10 million) on up to 4 or 5 players. Then double the salary cap for the rest of the team and increase the league minimum to $75 k for anyone who consistently makes the bench and $125 k or so for anyone who starts at least half the games that he is qualified to play for (thus not penalizing players who get injured). Within a year or two MLS, under these rules, would probably be challenging League MX for supremacy and as salaries are improved in the future, you could see MLS on a par with the Dutch League by the end of this decade, IMHO.

  7. Confirmed that he goes to Columbus. NE gets #4 pick.
    Good move for Columbus, I think.
    More curious to see where NE goes with the pick. Blake as their GK of the future? Or a FW to replace Agudelo?

  8. He just signed with the Crew for allocation money and draft pick. As a Crew fan, I’m happy with this move considering that even if Marshall was still with the team, we’d still need an upgrade in defense.

  9. he played in a few CL games and had a good performance during his time in Denmark and had an Irish passport and joined a relegation fodder club in Germany and played maybe 2 times this past spring and then can’t even make the bench.

    why not try Belgium or Holland or a return to Denmark? Fight for your spot in Europe. don’t return to MLS.

    It’s judgemental and stupid of me but we need Yanks in Europe. Not giving up after 1 bad experience. I can understand if he rode the bench for 3 years, but it was last than 1 year. Fight for it man.

    • Someday we will all get over this “gotta play in Europe” thing. F Europe. Let’s bring the best players to North America.

      • While I think it’s great that the MLS is bringing I. More and more talent, especially domestic talent, it would be silly to blow off Europe and their football leagues: That is where the best players and best teams in the world play, period. This will not change for a very long time.

      • do you want MLS being a top division or
        USMNT being a top 10 nation

        MLS will eventually be a top tier global league by 2040/50, USA might be a top 10 nation by the same time. But it moves faster with our best boys playing abroad. Proving themselves. Showing the world we what we can do. Sure the whole 5-6 million a year for guys like Defoe helps the PR for the league but our boys can’t return home from an unfinished job.

      • It isn’t that simple. It depends on a player’s individual situation. For Parkhurst, he was literally never playing. I don’t care what European team someone is on, MLS is an improvement over sitting on the bench or in the stands every week.

        I think MLS can be a top 10 league much sooner than 2040. The key, of course, is TV dollars. Once MLS gets some serious TV money flowing, it will be able to compete with European leagues in terms of salary and then a lot of players will be interested in coming here. Next TV deal is a huge improvement if rumors are true so it may be closer than you think.

      • Well with Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley now here… we can’t very well condemn players for not going to Europe. I suspect Parky will be back in the mix after this move

      • To answer your question, I’d prefer to have MLS grow than worry about whether the US is in the ‘top 10’ in fifa rankings or whatever.
        You have to look at the growth of soccer in the U.S. as a long-term proposition. The U.S. can’t win the World Cup today because our best athletes are not choosing soccer. Perhaps if we do more to grow the game here more young, super-athletic kids, will choose to play the game over football or basketball. The more popular the league is here the more we can win in the longer run.
        So I’ll take a much stronger, more popular MLS, and count on it meaning a better national team over the long term.

      • The class of athletes is not the problem with US Soccer….The problem is the youth coaching focusing on the wrong things. Until youth coaches focus on the technical aspects of the game and skills rather than Big & Fast the ability of our players to compete at the top level will be limited.

      • Why would he go play for a mid-table Norwegian team? That isn’t better than MLS. Just because it’s Europe doesn’t make it better.

      • Good point, since it is his career and he only has a few more years of playing professionally, he should, generally speaking, try to make as much as he can. Certainly can’t blame him for it.

      • good luck with your amazingly difficult challenge in Toronto to lead that franchise into the light. No easy task Michael

      • True, but as slowleftarm said, mid-table Norway is no better than MLS. It’s one thing for people to say, “Stay in Europe!” when it’s the big leagues, but Scandinavia, on average, is no better than MLS. Then it’s simply Europe for Europe’s sake, which is not a legit reason.

      • It is if he gets paid 6.2 millions a year.
        Americans put too much emphasis on “getting better” or “challenging yourself” This game is all about how much money can you make.

      • I’m sure fake Michael Bradley would turn down someone looking to pay him six times more than he currently makes. Players play first and foremost to make money not to please you.

      • Right on Brother. mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money. even if it means coming home with my tail between my legs as soon as things got tough I don’t care. I got paid.

      • I see where you’re coming from Landon, what kind of loser wouldn’t want to move away from his hometown and his ex-wife who he is trying to work things out with, while making millions, winning championships, becoming the greatest soccer player we’ve ever had, starring in multiple world cups, and going on successful winter loans.
        Only losers consider things that affect their lives.

    • Well, you’re right about one thing – it is judgmental and stupid of you to want US players in Europe no matter what. First, we don’t know if there were offers from Belgium or Holland. Second, it doesn’t do any good to say things like “fight for it.” You don’t think he was? If he wants to play in the world cup he needs to play now, not spend the next few months waging some quixotic battle for the honor of US players in Europe.

    • We don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that the fact that this is a World Cup year has a lot to do with decisions like this as players “on the bubble” are desperate to get playing time in order to make it to Brazil. We know this is why Shea got a short term transfer to the English Championship League. If this were 2015 Parkhurst might have tried to move to Holland or somewhere like that, but it is hard to move to a European team in January and break into the starting line up right away..

    • From a pro career perspective on a long term contract at a stable club I might agree with you but he has a limited amount of time to revive national team aspirations before the Brazil window closes. He needs to be in shape and playing very well by March with low risk that he’s just moved to another team’s bench. Voila, MLS.

      • Make the WC team, have a decent performance and be sought out for a Euro opportunity again (EU passport, after all). Short term step back might pay off well in the future.

    • NSSNS.

      “why not try Belgium or Holland or a return to Denmark? Fight for your spot in Europe. don’t return to MLS.”

      What makes you think he did not try those places?

      Has it ever occurred to you that Parkhurst is the seller and maybe none of the buyers in those countries are harassing his agent?

      Do you think he just puts an audition video up on You tube and then the teams from those countries just fall all over each other trying to sign him?

  10. Seems fishy to me. When Toney Sanneh returned to MLS after a free transfer DC United were not allowed to retain his rights. The club even made an offer to keep him.

    • He was a star defender in Norway but made a risky move going to Augsburg (following the Klinsmann mantra that you must always test yourself at the highest level). He never got to play so how is he a flop?

      • the salary cap needs to be raised to 4 million and to say 6 million by the end of the decade.

        we can’t even compete with Scandinavia. In Holland the minimum wages for a u-21 non-EU player is 400,000 US.

        come on MLS. get on your JOB

      • The national TV deal is for $70M a year, no? Spead that across the 23-24 teams MLS will soon have and it comes to not very much.

      • someone did the math on this in a nice article last week. worked out to $3M per team, per year. that’s not bad considering the vap is only $3M to begin with.

      • Remember, part of that goes to US Soccer. For more in-depth discussion on this, check out Soccer Morning

      • I’m not sure I’d be throwing the Eredivisie out there as a model for MLS to follow. The Eredivisie has been losing money for years and as a result has been consistently cutting player wages. The average salary in that league has fallen 20% to 283,000 Euros (about $375K) since 2010. That is still a lot more than MLS’ average wages, but the two leagues are going in decidedly different directions.

      • But when that didnt work out, JK stopped calling him because “he wasn’t playing.” He should have stayed where he was

        Of course, that rule doesnt apply to others like Brek Shea

  11. Based on reading about Marco Pappa, if Parkhurst was “sold” to FC Augsburg, then he would need to return through the weighted lottery. If MLS/Revs did not receive any financial consideration from his departure, then the Revs should still “own” his rights.

    I don’t know the details of his departure.

    • When a club gets a transfer fee they lose all future rights to a player. When they don’t they retain rights indefinitely. It’s basically a choice, you want the transfer money you give up the rights. I think if you want to retain the rights you can decline the transfer money and it all just goes into league coffers.

      Chicago got transfer money for Pappa, so he comes back through the allocation list (not a weighted lottery). Parkhurst left on a free, so the Revs retained his rights.

  12. I was always impressed watching Parkhurst during his days with the Revs. I would be very happy to have him play for the Crew!

  13. His time wasn’t very tumultuous. He just couldn’t get into the team for a run of games. That’s a quiet year when he should be at his peak spent sitting on the bench. If the Crew rumor is true, it’s a nice acquisition for them as they rebuild the back line.

  14. Confused why he won’t go through the allocation draft, or whatever MLS calls it. How does a MLS team retain the rights on a player who hasn’t been in the league for 5 years?

    • Fairly soccer savvy but arguably not tall enough for CB considering he’s more a smart soccer player than an athlete.

      • And of course athleticism is much more important than smarts in a central defender. You prefer a big fast, dumb player over the smart 5’11” Parkhurst huh?

      • It’s a mix of attributes but I’ve always viewed him as limited value because he can’t get involved on deadballs either end, and he is roughly Spector’s speed defending. Granted, there are some athletic, dumb backs….but to me at his height you need to be a Cannavaro or Boca in his prime type athlete, ups, speed, etc. He’s a shorter, somewhat more mobile Boswell.

        When a 6’4″ forward is coming in for a cross smarts only gets you so far.

        When some fast forward is played through or over you, smarts only gets you so far.

      • not too many at the international level, but off the top of my head Giroud, Benteke and Ibra. Mario Gomez might be close, but I think he’s shorter (mybe 6’2″)

      • That being said, I think he will do very well in the MLS. Parkhurst is the type of player who would be a career MLS lifer if there was a little better pay. I still think he could play in Belgium when her would be paid probably $800K/year maybe better.

      • I highly, highly doubt that Parkhurst would be able to demand $800K/year in Belgium. The average salary in the Jupiler league is only about 200K Euros ($270K or so) so I really can’t imagine MP getting that kind of cheddar over there.

      • Their income is reported net of taxes. In Belgium, it’s about 50-55% percent. On top of that it was just over EUR 200K in 2007 after it had taken a dip due to the economic crisis. That number also includes the last man sitting on the bench and those not making game day squad. Keep in mind when Gooch was at Standard Liege he was making Eur700K. I was assuming Parkhurst (who was a starting champions league caliber back in Norway before Germany) could get close to Eur350K-400K net of taxes which might be close to earning close to USD800K pre-taxes.

      • Rob Friend, signed this week, 6′ 5″. Salgado, Wheeler, Weaver, 6′ 4″. Saer Sene, Cooper, Gordon, Jahn 6′ 3″. Bunbury, Doyle, Bruin, Piquionne, Henry 6′ 2″

        Also, Joao Plata, 5′ 2″.

      • Did you read his stats? Rookie of the year, MLS defender of the year and MLS best 11.

        Of course, the players were all much shorter then so of course he’ll struggle now…. NOT

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