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American midfielder Keaton Parks training with Benfica first team

While several young American stars take the field in Portugal with the U.S. Men’s National Team, another young midfielder is making moves with one of the country’s biggest teams.

20-year-old American midfielder Keaton Parks has been working with Benfica’s senior team throughout the international break. With several first team regulars out on international duty, manager Rui Vitória sees the international break as a good time to get a closer look at Parks and his development.

Parks, who was raised in Texas before heading to Portugal when he turned 19, has been a standout with the team’s second team. The midfielder has scored twice in 751 minutes while with Benfica G.

The midfielder joined Benfica in July after initially featuring for lower league side Varzim. His move away from Varzim was held up by a lengthy contract dispute that was cleared up in July.

Internationally, Parks joined the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team for a camp before moving to Benfica.


  1. And just today, Keaton Parks has been called to Benfica’s 1st team for their next game. He was training with them since he wasn’t called for the Portuguese friendly. Looks like things work out for the better for him.

  2. Glad to hear that there is another prospect emerging within the US pyramid. It is looking like we’re going to have a nice stable of young options for the next cycle:
    CB: Miazga, CCV, EPB, Glad, Redding
    OB: Olosunde, Dest, Fossey, Moore, Farfan, Payne, Robinson
    CM: McKennie, Gonzalez, Adams, Acosta, Jones,
    LM: Pulisic, Saief, Green, Taitigue
    RM: Pulisic, Gooch, Arriola, Wright
    CAM: Pulisic, Scott, Parks (?)
    F: Sargent, Morris, Weah

    Pair these kids with a handful of vets (Yedlin, Brooks, Wood) over the next 18 months and let them get experience, build chemistry, and get us moving in the right direction. Just need to get a decent coach…someone who can get the tactics right, and get the most out of the players.

    • I like your optimistic view but a few are not progressing…Fossey has been hurt for the past 3 months, Payne has regressed to the point where he is not getting consistent playing time in a 3rd division team, I think, too lazy to check. Green also is not progressing.
      If you meant Derik Jones, then you are one of the few that caught that, I think he may end up being a dark horse, comes out of nowhere to take someone’s place, the kid is 6’3 and strong, he had an excellent U20 WC performance. One other player that you missed is Jordy Siebatcheu, in my opinion, he would be the top dual nationality prospect to get, at 6’2 and 180 lbs, he is the forward that can play either CF or the right wing, players like him are hard to come by.

  3. I have been following him since he went to Varzim and the report on him is accurate. The kid has an amazing feathery touch on the ball for being 6’4 and I agree with you, his biggest asset is he is a very smart player, always knows what to do before he gets the ball and he hardly ever makes a bad pass. I was hoping to see him with NT group but we will have wait unitl next year.

  4. I watched a youtube clip expecting to see a #6 due to his size (and the fact that we wore #6 on his last team) This kid can PASS. I hope he keeps progressing at Benfica. All of these young yanks breaking into good teams in Europe is making the pain of no world cup next summer a little easier to bear.

  5. if you’ve been lucky enough to see this kid play, you can away impressed. Parks has such a unique skill set. Patrick Vieira size — 6’3″or 6’4″ — but has impeccable ball skills and can devliver pass on a dime. Parks is a playmaker and his soccer IQ as an attacking midfielder seems to be highly rated by Benfica. Benfica went to great links to get this kid and hopefully he continues to making strides. Fisrt team action, I hope, is around the corner.


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