World Cup: Michael Parkhurst sees move to Columbus Crew as boost to summer in Brazil
CARSON, Calif. -- Michael Parkhurst kept Jurgen Klinsmann in the loop from the very beginning.
With playing time in Germany decreasing and his chances of making the US national team dwindling, Parkhurst gave Klinsmann a call to let him know he wanted out of Augsburg. MLS was a possibility, Parkhurst told the coach, and a major motivating factor was being able to join the US for January camp.
Fast forward a few weeks and Parkhurst, having returned to MLS and signed with the Columbus Crew, might be playing left back in Saturday's friendly against South Korea at StubHub Center (5 pm ET, ESPN2/UniMas).
"He's up to speed," Klinsmann told reporters on Friday. "His move is a personal move to get him playing time and get him in playing rhythm, in this case with the Columbus Crew, and make his case. Unfortunately, he wasn't breaking through there in Augsburg. Things didn't work out the way we had hoped it worked out. That's why he pulled the plug."
Parkhurst, 30, estimated that he participated in his last match sometime in early November with the Augsburg reserves, but he also worked out on his own to stay in shape in case a move happened. Augsburg, according to the defender, wanted him out as much as he wanted out, so he was fortunate in that sense. He had 18 months remaining on his contract.
"I told Jurgen it was likely going to be come down to MLS or Denmark, and he was positive with both," Parkhurst told reporters. "He told me to take my time and make sure it was right for me."
In the long-term outlook, Columbus views Parkhurst at center back, he said, but the two sides have an understanding that he might be able to play some left back to improve his chances of cracking the 23-man roster for Brazil. Klinsmann said he likes Parkhurst's technique, big-game experience and calmness, though Parkhurst knows he has a lot of ground to make up to overtake DaMarcus Beasley at the spot.
"Beasley has done a really good job the past year or so," Parkhurst said. "I know Jurgen has been really happy with him. Right now, he's the starter. For me, the more positions I can play and show Jurgen that I can contribute, the better it is for my chances."
Parkhurst was already in Columbus for a couple of days, but did not train with the team. Despite being unable to breakthrough in Germany, Parkhurst is happy knowing he will get an opportunity to showcase himself the next few months.
"In the summer I got a lot of opportunities with the national team and I was in camp for the World Cup qualifiers and with the Gold Cup team," Parkhurst said. "In that way, [my time at Augsburg] didn't hinder me too much but at the same time, I think if I was playing regularly I could have fought for the starting position at right back. I could have made that mine, I feel like.
"But there's still five months left and now that I'm back at MLS and hopefully playing on a weekly basis I can make a push for the team."