Prior to the season, Columbus Crew defender Michael Parkhurst said that he had two goals remaining in his soccer career — win MLS Cup, and make the USA roster for the FIFA World Cup.
After today’s announcement that the Providence, Rhode Island native is one of 30 players on Jürgen Klinsmann’s preliminary roster, Parkhurst is one step closer to achieving one of those goals.
“It means a lot,” said Parkhurst. “Every soccer player would tell you that the ultimate goal is to play in the World Cup, and to be this close, and to have the opportunity to fight for a spot on the way to Brazil, and hopefully make this team—it would be the ultimate capper of a career."
Although Parkhurst regularly plays centerback for the Crew, his ability to move to the outside and play fullback as well figures to be an advantage as he battles for a spot on the final roster.
“It’s definitely helped my career, not only club-wise, but National Team-wise as well. Right now, I still don’t know if I’m competing for a leftback or a rightback spot with the National Team, and obviously, I play central defender for Columbus.
“I think the versatility overall helps. I like to be out there playing different things; it keeps it interesting for me. I hope that that versatility—I can be a either starter or a backup at multiple positions—will help me get on that plane.”
Under Klinsmann, Parkhurst has begun to feature more regularly with the national team, including a spot on the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup side, where the defender was a regular starter on a side that won the title. He credits his move to rightback when he spent time with Nordsjælland in Denmark as the reason why he has solidified his role.
“The way that we played in Denmark, and the way I was able to get into the attack and hone my game as a rightback has really prepared me well for the international play, and for Jürgen’s style of play,” said Parkhurst. “I think that that’s the biggest difference for me, personally, between Bob [Bradley] and Jürgen. Of course, all coaches see the game differently, some coaches favor players over others, and Jürgen has seemed to favored me. Hopefully that continues.”
Whether Parkhurst makes the final side or not, it’s clear that he is greatly honored by the achievement, and appreciates the significance of his nomination.
“If it doesn’t work out for me, I think I’ve had a great career, and I think I have a few more years left to give, but this would be the ultimate thing I’ve accomplished, soccer-wise.”