MLS great Michael Parkhurst joins ownership group of prospective Rhode Island USL side

Michael Parkhurst - Atlanta United - Clapping

Former MLS and US men’s national team defender Michael Parkhurst has entered the wave of recently-retired pros investing in American professional soccer, joining the ownership group of a prospective USL Championship team in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Parkhurst, whose MLS career included stops with the New England Revolution, Columbus Crew SC and Atlanta United, is originally from Cranston, a city just south of the state’s capital city of Providence. Now 37, Parkhurst retired after the 2019 MLS campaign.

“I’m extremely excited to join this ownership group and be a part of the transformative stadium and real estate development associated with Tidewater Landing,” Parkhurst said in a release. “Brett [Johnson] obviously has a fantastic background in USL and these are exciting times in soccer here in the US, particularly at the USL level with its growth. I’m really happy to be a part of this group in Rhode Island where I grew up, and hopefully we’ll have a few future Rhode Island natives playing for the team as we get going.”

Should the USL Championship come to Pawtucket, the team would play at a 7,500-seat soccer specific stadium that’d be the center of a multi-use facility. In February, the stadium’s financing was approved at $284 million.

During his MLS career, Parkhurst had one goal and six assists in 301 matches. A center back who could also play right back, Parkhurst was selected out of Wake Forest University and spent four seasons (2005-08) with New England. He then played six seasons in Europe with Danish side Nordsjælland and German side FC Augsburg before coming back to MLS.

While with Atlanta United, he memorably captained the side to the 2018 MLS Cup. On the international stage, Parkhurst was capped 25 times by the USMNT. As for personal awards, he was a six-time MLS All-Star, the 2007 MLS Defender of the Year and the 2005 MLS Rookie of the Year.

Aside from Parkhurst, other prominent ex-MLS and USMNT players who are investing in American soccer include the following: DaMarcus Beasley (Fort Wayne FC), Landon Donovan (San Diego Loyal SC), Tim Howard (Memphis 901 FC) and Charlie Davies (USL New Hampshire).

“I’m thrilled to welcome Michael Parkhurst as part of the ownership group of USL Rhode Island, as you can’t talk about professional soccer in Rhode Island without Michael being part of the conversation,” Johnson said in a release. “If I’ve learned anything from my seven years in USL, it’s how critical it is to assemble a world-class ownership group and Michael is the perfect building block for this franchise as we move toward our inaugural season in 2023.”