After announcing last week that they’ve declined all returning player contracts while stating that they’re in the process of working out deals to re-sign some to new deals, Riverhounds revealed on Wednesday that they have re-signed forward Romeo Parkes to a new one-year deal with a club option for the 2019 season, pending USL and USSF approval.
Parkes, 27, has spent parts of the past two seasons with the Hounds.
Hounds coach Bob Lilley appears intent on using Parkes as one of the building blocks to turn the Hounds into a winner in 2018, and has made no secret that he’s going to be a forward.
“We’re excited to have Romeo back for the 2018 season. We think he can be one of the most dangerous forwards in this league with his power, pace and ability to beat players off the dribble,” said Lilley through the team’s release on Wednesday.
As the Hounds have announced the re-signing of Parkes, its leading goal scorer the past two years, Corey Hertzog posted this on his twitter account shortly afterwards.
Clearly, with Parkes, alongside Chevy Walsh, who was the only previous player already signed to contract for 2018, Lilley wasn’t going to re-sign Hertzog. who scored 27 goals in the past two seasons.
A native of Saint Mary, Jamaica, Parkes has made 30 appearances in a Hounds uniform, including 24 last season after being signed in early May.
While Parkes tallied nine goals in his time in Pittsburgh – second-most by a Hounds player over the past two seasons, last season was filled with inconsistent performances from Parkes.
The Jamaican ws brought back to Pittsburgh in May, even after he had his contract terminated immediately after an infamous incident which he kicked a New York Red Bulls II opponent in the back in May 2016. The addition of Parkes came at a time while the Hounds were winning a string of three straight 1-0 games.
It was thought that Parkes would bring an added dimension to the Hounds’ attack.
Despite scoring five goals in six games prior to the outburst that got him banned worldwide for the rest of 2016, Parkes brought more inconsistency than quality in 2017, accounting for three goals and three assists while former coach Dave Brandt struggled to make up his mind on where to put him in the lineup.
Eventually, as the Hounds’ play hit peak form in August, Parkes settled into a role as an attacking midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation that would envelope into a 4-2-2-2 when the Hounds would go on the attack.
It was during the Hounds’ three-game win streak in August when Parkes played his best, picking up three assists, including two in one game. In the final five games, when the Hounds were in the thick of a playoff race, against quality opponents, when they needed Parkes to be a dynamic box-to-box midfielder, he disappeared, without a goal or an assist.
Lilley believes Parkes can be a dangerous option at the top of the Hounds attack — and this might be the domino falling that will lead to other re-signings — or potentially some players not returning to the roster.
Parkes was also one of two players to record multiple assists in a single game last season – Kevin Kerr being the other – and his three helpers on the year trailed only Kerr (five) for the team lead.
Prior to joining the Hounds, Parkes made 70 appearances over two seasons for Asociación Deportiva Isidro Metapán of the Primera División, the top tier of the El Salvador football league system. He began playing professionally in 2009.
The addition of Parkes marks the first offseason signing for the Hounds, as he joins fellow Jamaican forward Chevaughn Walsh as the only two players currently under contract for the club.
In another development, one of the team’s two originally signed goalkeepers in 2017, Keasel Broome, will not be returning to the club in 2018. Broome made six appearances for the club, including posting two clean sheets.