New York City FC Saturday announced the acquisition of Keaton Parks on loan from S.L. Benfica for this Major League Soccer season.
The 21-year-old American is a versatile central midfielder who can play at the base of the midfield or in a more advanced role.
“It’s the best decision for me right now,” Parks said. “It’s first division soccer, it’s good competition, it’s good experience and for me it’s the best opportunity for me right now. I’m excited to be able to live in the biggest city in the world and to play with a very well-known Club, a big Club in front of all of our fans. I’m just excited to get started.”
Hailing from Plano, Texas, Parks joined Varzim S.C. in Portugal in 2015 when he turned 18. He signed for Benfica in 2017.
He has since tallied up seven goals and seven assists in more than 40 appearances for Benfica B in the Portuguese second division—LigaPro.
Keaton’s success with the reserves helped him make his senior team debut against Vitória in November 2017. He would go on to play six games for the first team.
“Keaton is a young and talented player who we are very pleased to add to our squad,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “He’s spent the past few seasons at Benfica and that experience, as well as being an American, will help him make a smooth transition to life in MLS and in New York. He is only 21 years old and we believe he will have a strong impact in our midfield. Keaton comes to us highly motivated and ready to take the next step in his career with NYCFC and we look forward to having him at the Club and helping us achieve success on the pitch.”
The 6-3, 178-pound Keaton He returned stateside last May as Keaton made his U.S. men’s national team debut, coming off the bench in the 62nd minute of the 3-0 victory over Bolivia Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa.
“Keaton is a young American player that can play at a few different spots in the midfield,” head coach Domenec Torrent said. “He can play in the six position, but he can always play further up the field as an eight. Even though he’s a young player, he’s played professionally in Europe and that experience will help him as he joins our squad and competes for minute in our midfield.”