Romeo Parkes. Boy is that a name I didn’t expect to hear again. We haven’t talked about player news or signings much on the blog this season, but this one warrants a post. The Riverhounds have re-signed Romeo Parkes.
Quick recap for anyone living under a rock. About this time last season during a match against the New York Red Bulls II, in a fit of rage Romeo Parkes kicked Karl Ouimette in the back. Parkes was subsequently given a red card, released from the team, and received a one season ban by the USL which also translated to a worldwide FIFA ban. His ban ended in October last year when the USL season ended, and since then he has been linked to a prior club, AD Isidro Metapán in El Salvador. The incident propelled the Riverhounds to worldwide attention in a manner nobody wanted, and was also probably the keystone to the collapse of last season. Even in and early season Parkes was shaping up to be THE guy on the team. The Hounds never really recovered after his dismissal.
And here we are, about a year later, and Romeo Parkes is returning to the club. This will go down as one of the most divisive moves the Hounds have ever made. Even as it started to leak out I’ve seen supporters against it, supporters for it, and supporters in the middle just enjoying the show. From my personal perspective regardless of his actions, I’m not a big fan of the move from a tactical perspective. I don’t think the offense is the side of the ball that needs work. However, at the end of the day we have to trust the plan. If the club wants to make PR waves in a signing they could’ve gone down the path of something like Phoenix’s signing of Drogba. Instead they have chosen to re-sign a guy who has fallen from grace. I have to trust they know what they’re doing. Brandt has made it a point before that all the guys coming into the team this year are guys he wants, guys that have shown they will fight for the spot, and that no one is here just because. Even if I may not be 100% on board, the coaching staff are and believe that Parkes will lead us to wins. This isn’t Steffen’s staff bringing him back. There’s been complete turn over in the offseason, and they still are resigning Parkes. The other week I talked about not wanting moral victories in losses, but actual results. They must believe bringing Parkes back will give us those results.
If you want to look at it from another angle than pure win-loss statistics, look at is as a redemption. Redemption stories are super popular in media. If I let my nerd side leak out a bit look no further than the recent success of the “Logan” movie, or in the theater world the ever popular “Les Miserables”, or classic film with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This is Parkes’ redemption. His second chance. The second chance that most people think everyone deserves. If you believe the justice system should be about rehabilitation and not just all punishment, here you go. Romeo Parkes did the crime, and he paid for it. In sports a lost year is massive, especially when you’re an older guy making pennies in the minor leagues. I’m not saying forget what he did. I’m not saying we should defend it. But perhaps we can forgive, and perhaps we can move forward.
This is a signing that everyone will have to wrestle with on their own terms. As I said I’m not 100% on board, but if this post is any indication I’m willing to give him a chance. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s happening. Every sports team makes decisions that makes or breaks fans. I don’t speak for everyone, but as an organization the Steel Army will continue to support the team. This season sure is going places. We’ll see you on Saturday the 20th when Louisville City comes to town.