In 2016, not many people knew who Keaton Parks was. Despite being an FC Dallas academy product, Parks did not come through the conventional soccer pipelines of college or USL, and was a relatively unknown commodity.
In 2018, however, the 20-year-old midfielder is in Benfica’s first team plans and anyone following the U.S. Men’s National Team knows his name well. Parks is currently enjoying his first preseason with Benfica, having made his first appearance for the Portugese giants in 2017.
“It’s my first preseason at this level, and I’m enjoying myself,” he told Ojogo on Tuesday. “I’m enjoying the team time, working and I hope to stay here in the main squad.”
With Parks in the picture for both Benfica’s first team and also the USMNT starting XI, this summer will be incredibly important for the Texas native’s development.
Parks took big strides to this end in 2017, securing his first cap for the USMNT and making his first appearance for Benfica. Parks debuted for the USMNT in May, coming in for USMNT vet Joe Corona, when the young side faced off against Bolivia.
Getting nearly 30 minutes of play, Parks looked comfortable in the USMNT midfield, and will be competing for a spot in the crowded U.S. side as more friendlies are played later this year.
“There is high level football in the United States,” he said, “but in Europe it is much higher and being here helps me in my development.There are a lot of Americans playing in Europe and they expect us to be the same as any other player on the team.”