When the 2004 MLS season commenced, there was great hype about the league's #1 draft pick, Freddy Adu. However, soon after, hype began to spring up about another draft pick, Jeff Parke. The MetroStars selected Parke, the last pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. Soon after, his strong play and hard work ethic earned him a starting spot on the Metros back line next to U.S. Men's National Team defender Eddie Pope. MetroStars.com recently caught up with Jeff to ask him a few questions about his first year playing professional soccer and what his expectations are for the rest of the season.
MetroStars.com: This is your first season playing in MLS and with the MetroStars. What are your thoughts on the team so far this season?
Jeff Parke: "I think the team has performed very well. We've hit some rough patches but we've rebounded each time. The squad we have here is so talented and we are really starting to jell together, which is great."
The MetroStars suffered a tough loss to Colorado on June 30 at Giants Stadium. You were up 2-1 and ended up losing 3-2. Is the team treating this weekend's rematch any differently than a normal game because of what transpired the last time you met up with the Rapids?
"No, we are treating Saturday's match like any other game. We know we have to stay focused for the full 90 minutes. We cannot give up any late goals or lose our focus if we want to win."
Your play has been strong this year and you have become a fixture in the MetroStars back line. Has all of this exceeded your expectations for the season?
"Yes, all of what's happened so far has definitely exceeded my expectations. At times, it's been overwhelming. However, I'm thankful to be part of this squad. To be starting in matches is even more special."
What are your personal goals for the remainder of the season?
"Personally, I want to help the team out every way I can so that together we can have the best record in the league and ultimately win MLS Cup.