D.C. United have pulled the trigger on yet another bold offseason transaction on Tuesday, finalizing a trade with their I-95 rivals the Philadelphia Union.
United announced on Tuesday that the two clubs have swapped center backs as well as allocation assets, with Union veteran Jeff Parke heading to D.C. and United Homegrown Ethan White (above), along with the Black-and-Red's place atop the allocation order, moving north in return.
As a result, United would move down to Philly's current sixth spot in that list.
“It was a priority for us this off-season to shore up our defense. In Jeff, we have acquired a starting veteran center back who instantly upgrades our backline,” D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement. “Jeff has over 200 starts in MLS, and at 31, has many years to contribute to our team at a high level.
“We would like to thank Ethan for his contribution on and off the field to our club. It has been a pleasure watching him develop in our Academy and first team, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”
The Washington Post's Steven Goff suggested that the transaction is related to the Union's pursuit of US national teamer Maurice Edu, who is said to be mulling a return to MLS after several months of scant playing time with English Premier League club Stoke City. If Edu rejoins the league at anything less than Designated Player status, he would be made available to the team at the top of the allocation order.
Moments after trade rumors cropped up on Twitter, White penned a series of tweets bidding farewell to his hometown club and expressing excitement about his new destination.
I'd like to thank all the coaches, staff, teammates and especially the fans at @dcunited for everything over the past 3 seasons. This— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) January 14, 2014
Organization had helped me grow as both a player and a man. I will miss you all and thank you for the support you guys have shown me through— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) January 14, 2014
You guys have shown me through it all. It is time for me to move on and I'm glad @PhilaUnion has shown interest and given me the opportunity— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) January 14, 2014
Parke began his professional career with the then-New York Metro Stars and spent five seasons with the club, playing in 132 games helping lead the team to the MLS Cup final in 2008. He followed that with three seasons in Seattle after being selected in the Expansion Draft before spending 2013 with the Philadelphia Union, where he started and appeared in 31 games with one assist.
A Maryland native, White was United's fourth Homegrown signing after joining the team in Jan. 2010. The defender was a standout for United’s U-18 Academy side before playing for the University of Maryland for two seasons. In his first year with United, White played in 24 games (21 starts) while recording one goal. Over the last two seasons, he featured in 14 games (13 starts) and helped the team capture the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.