The Pittsburgh Riverhounds terminated Romeo Parkes’ contract in 2016 for attacking Karl Ouimette (above). (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
The man who had his contract terminated for the rest of the 2016 United Soccer League season after attacking former Red Bulls and Red Bulls II defender Karl Ouimette in the back last season, is back for some more kicks with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Forward Romeo Parkes signed a one-year deal with the USL club, it was announced Friday, with options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The deal is pending league and U.S. Soccer approval.
After both players were red carded in the 86th minute of the Red Bulls II’s 3-1 away win May 7, Parkes attacked Ouimette from behind. Ouimette, a Canadian international, needed a stretcher to take him off the field, wound up serving a three-game suspension.
Now, it seems the Riverhounds had a 180-degree reversal on what transpired and are willing to give the 26-year-old Jamaican international a second chance. At the time of his infraction, Parkes had tallied five goals in six games.
“Romeo has shown tremendous improvement and maturity as an individual and expressed remorse for his actions last year,” Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger said in a statement. “I fully believe he is more than deserving of a second chance to help improve this club. I look forward to embracing his contributions to the Riverhounds organization both on and off the field.”
Parkes welcomed the second chance. He is expected to be eligible to play in Pittsburgh’s next game at Ottawa Saturday, May 13.
“It is with humility and excitement that I am returning to the Riverhounds,” Parkes said in a statement. “My main objective is to deliver quality soccer and exemplify sportsmanship, and have the opportunity to earn respect, both as a person and a soccer player. Not only have I learned my lesson, but I am more determined than ever to have a positive impact on my community, my team and to make a difference on the field.”
He most recently performed for Isidro Metapan of El Salvador’s Primera División.
Parkes joined an attack that included former Red Bull Corey Hertzog and Kay Banjo, who have scored four and two goals, respectively. The Hounds (3-3-2), who won two consecutive games, are fourth in the Eastern Conference.
“Romeo is a talented player, and beyond that, someone who we think can fit very well into the type of team we are building here in Pittsburgh,” head coach Dave Brandt said in a press release. “He joins a Riverhounds squad that is quite different from the one he left early last season, and he will join an already exciting and talented group that we have in the attack.”