Parker relishes coming back home

Parker earned a first-team spot midway through his rookie season with Vancouver and remained in the starting lineup the next two full seasons, establishing himself as one of the league’s top young American centerbacks.

“Not only has he made a difference for the Vancouver Whitecaps, but he’s the sort of guy the national team should bring in consistently and help develop internationally because I think he has this pedigree to help propel his team forward defensively.” The chance to bring Parker, 25, back home arose late in the preseason when he reportedly grew unhappy with Vancouver contact talks and requested a trade.

Parker flew from Vancouver to Tijuana, Mexico, to meet up with his new team Sunday.

What followed was a crash course in how the Red Bulls play, taught by Marsch with assistance from fellow central defender Aaron Long.

Less than 48 hours later, Parker was thrust into the Red Bulls’ starting XI at Estadio Caliente for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Club Tijuana a historic 2-0 win for the Red Bulls.

Growing up in Hicksville, Parker said he closely followed the only MLS team in town: the New York Red Bulls.

Team Parker used to come out in droves when Vancouver played in the New York area.