TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Transfer
One of New York City FC's key cogs from the 2019 season has come back, and on a permanent basis.
The club announced on Wednesday that Keaton Parks has been transferred from Benfica and will join the Cityzens on a permanent basis. He has signed a multi-year contract with the club.
Parks became an instrumental part of the lineup in the second half of the season as NYCFC pulled away from their fellow Eastern Conference rivals to finish atop the Eastern Conference. He appeared in 22 matches (14 starts) and collected a goal and an assist, playing mostly as a No. 8.
“We’re delighted to sign Keaton to a long-term contract that will keep him in New York City for the foreseeable future. Getting Keaton back on a permanent basis was one of our main priorities and we’re happy to complete the deal before the team leaves for preseason," said NYCFC sporting director David Lee.
"Keaton’s potential as a professional is extremely high. Having already made his debut for the U.S. national team, we believe that he has the capability to become a regular at that level if he continues to develop as he’s done throughout his career. Keaton is not only a player that helps us compete for titles in 2020, but can also be a foundation piece of this club for many years to come.”
He also started all three U.S. Open Cup matches and scored his first two goals for the club in a victory against North Carolina FC. The midfielder added two assists throughout the competition as NYCFC advanced to the quarterfinals.
The Texas native joined Varzim SC in Portugal in 2015 before signing with Benfica in 2017. In addition to being a regular for the reserve team, Parks made four appearances with the first team during the 2017-18 season.
"I’m really excited to be back at New York City FC on a permanent basis. My first season in New York was incredible, and with most of the guys returning, I know 2020 will be an even better year for the club," said Parks.
“I think I played well in 2019 and earned my spot in the starting eleven, but heading into 2020, I’m ready to fight to keep my place and help push this team forward to bigger things. My goal for this year is simple - I want to win a trophy. We definitely have the talent to win one and that’s what I want to do with NYCFC. I’m confident we have the squad to do it.”
Parks re-joins one of the top midfields in the league, which boasts captain Alex Ring and 2019 assist leader Maxi Moralez. Homegrown James Sands will also compete for a spot in the center of the field — as he returns from injury — but the teenager can also line up in the center of a back three.
It's been a busy week for the Cityzens, as the club announced the hiring of head coach Ronny Deila on Monday. NYCFC will open preseason on Saturday as they prepare for their first appearance in the Concacaf Champions League. They open the Round of 16 against Costa Rican side San Carlos on Feb. 20 in Ciudad Quesada.