Michael Parkhurst - close up

Atlanta United acquire veteran defender Michael Parkhurst from Columbus

Atlanta United didn’t waste any time continuing their aggressive offseason.

Less than 12 hours after the 2016 season officially ended with the Seattle Sounders winning the MLS Cup, the expansion side acquired Michael Parkhurst in a trade with Columbus Crew SC, who received General Allocation Money in return.

The agreement took place during Major League Soccer’s Half-Day Trade Window on Sunday morning.

A 32-year-old former MLS Defender of the Year and four-time MLS All-Star, Parkhurst had been Crew SC’s captain for the past three seasons and has been capped by the US national team 25 times.

“Michael is a fantastic addition for us, given his veteran leadership and MLS experience. He’s proven to be an effective captain and is an ideal role model for some of the younger players on our club,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a release. “Also, he’s a very intelligent defender and good on the ball, which fits in nicely with our style of play.”

Parkhurst will bring experience and stability to a team that has been largely focused on building up its youth by signing Young Designated Players Miguel Almiron and Hector Villalba and Homegrowns Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin, among other moves.

The 32-year-old defender has combined for more than 200 career appearances with Columbus (2014-16) and the New England Revolution (2005-08). In addition to four MLS All-Star selections (2005, 2007, 2008, 2014), Parkhurst was named the MLS Defender of the Year and a Best XI selection in 2007 and took home Rookie of the Year honors in 2005.

He appeared in at least 33 games during each of his three seasons in Columbus and was one of only two MLS players to start all 34 league matches this past year.

Parkhurst has been to four MLS Cups, leading Crew SC there in 2015 and helping the Revolution make it to three straight finals from 2005 to 2007.

“We want to thank Michael for his contributions on and off the field over the last three seasons with Crew SC,” Columbus sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a release. “Michael served admirably as the club’s captain and his efforts as a part of the 2015 Eastern Conference Championship team will always have a place in Black & Gold history.”

In between his stints with the Revolution and Crew SC, Parkhurst found some success overseas, playing for Danish side Nordsjællan as well as FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga.

For the US national team, he was a member of the 2007 and 2013 Gold Cup champion squads and represented his country during the 2008 Olympics.

Also on Sunday, Atlanta made a slew of smaller trades, acquiring midfielder Kevin Kratz from Philadelphia, midfielder Harrison Heath from Orlando and forward Romario Williams from Montreal. The expansion club will look to add some more pieces to its roster when the offseason schedule continues with the MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday.

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