Parke was acquired last week from the Seattle Sounders for a draft pick and allocation money. He talked about growing up in the Delaware Valley without a pro soccer team. The Union came into existence in 2010.
"I was frustrated that with Philly being such a big market I always wondered why Philly didn't have a team," Parke said. "So once the team came around it has always been a goal of mine and my family to come back and play, so I am ecstatic that the dream finally came true."
Parke will be joining a Union team that did not make the playoffs this past season.
"They already have a good back line, it's just a matter of adding a couple of good pieces throughout the year," he said. "I have seen the ups and downs; it's about giving the young guys some confidence. If you look at it, [the Union's] team defense last year was one of the better ones in the league, so I just hope I am able to add to it."
Said Union manager John Hackworth of acquiring Parke, days after the return of fan favorite Sebastien Le Toux: "It's really important, [with the way] things are always changing in this league . . . to bring a centerback of Jeff's quality was really something we couldn't pass up at this point," Hackworth said. "It was a long process as most of these things are, but it was Seattle honoring Jeff's request to move a bit closer to home and our desire to have him here is what really got this deal done."