Kevin Parsemain is perhaps best known as the most prolific goalscorer in the history of Martinique, a French island in the eastern Caribbean Sea that will take on the US national team in a 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B fixture at Raymond James Stadium on Wednesday (FS1, UniMás, UDN in US | TSN2 in Canada).
But Parsemain also has a different claim in the Pacific Northwest, as arguably the most memorable roster cameo for a Seattle Sounders player who never played a single minute in MLS.
The legend began during the Sounders’ preseason in 2014, when he first surfaced at the Starfire Sports Complex practice facility as a mysterious – but intriguing – trialist.
“In his games with [Martinique] he did really well, so we brought him in,” former Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told MLSsoccer.com in a Tuesday interview. “I saw him on video and wanted to see more. He was very good technically and athletically. Good pace and good balance.”
Parsemain arrived in Seattle as something of an enigma, but quickly established a propensity for scoring highlight-reel goals in team scrimmages. In continued when the preseason started, where he scored twice in 105 minutes, including an absurd first-time volley from distance in a February 2014 exhibition against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
But the Sounders would never find out if Parsemain could parlay that form into MLS production. Just weeks after officially signing on March 28, 2014, he would tear his ACL, an injury that sidelined him him for the entire season before he was waived almost exactly a year later.
“I was confident he could contribute [in MLS] but then he tore his ACL,” Schmid said. “The injury really set him back and he lost a little bit of confidence when he returned. It takes some players a little longer to feel stable on the repaired knee and Kevin was a player that took a little longer.”
So, could Parsemain play himself back onto the MLS radar if he keeps up his goal-scoring ways in this year’s Gold Cup? Schmid says it’s probably unlikely now, three more years a significant knee injury behind him.
“It is great to see him back out and scoring goals,” Schmid said. “He is now 29, so it might be tough to get back into MLS. But he has the ability to play in the league.”
For now, Parsemain will look to continue making his mark internationally.
He extended his country-leading goal total to 28 in 45 career caps following his 35th-minute header in Martinique’s 2-0 Group B victory over Nicaragua on Monday, a tally that also marked his second career Gold Cup goal. It’s a mark that he’ll look to add to against the US on Wednesday, where he figures to once again be the focal point of the Martinique attack.
If his time with the Sounders does turn out to be his last foray into MLS? Parsemain has his place in franchise lore anyhow.