Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth is happy that new acquisition defender Jeff Parke was called up to the US national team this week.
He’s just a little surprised that no other Union players will join Parke for the three-week camp that kicked off Monday at the Home Depot Center and culminates with a Jan. 29 friendly against Canada.
“I think there are other guys on our roster that are deserving of it,” Hackworth told MLSsoccer.com by phone Tuesday. “I had spoken with the national team staff and for whatever reason they haven’t been called up. It’s such a subjective process … and I’m biased. But I honestly thought we would have had more than just Parke.”
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Hackworth declined to say which he player he thought was the biggest snub, but Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Michael Farfan, Jack McInerney and Zac MacMath are all young players that could be on the cusp of their first US national team appearance.
Either way, the Parke call-up was significant for the Union, who had never before had a player called up to the senior national team. Hackworth, though, was more focused on what the accomplishment means for the player and not the franchise.
“I think in his last two years of play in MLS, it’s hard to argue that he’s not one of the top center backs in the league,” Hackworth said. “Some guys, if you’re looking at it, didn’t have their best club seasons. Jeff is the exact opposite of that. He’s just been that good the last couple of years and I think that type of recognition means a lot.”
The only downside of the call-up is that Parke, who was traded the Union last month, will miss the beginning of his new team’s preseason camp when it opens in less than two weeks.
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“He’s a new player that we would love to integrate and start to build playing relationships that are so important on the field,” Hackworth said. “That’s what preseason is for and we won’t have that for the first part of the preseason.
“But it certainly sounds like from their plan that he’ll definitely be getting fit out there.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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