Hicksville's Parker Selected in 1st Round of MLS Superdraft
February 12, 2015 | by Ken Ilchuk
They say 13 is an unlucky number. Someone might want to check with Hicksville’s Tim Parker on that.
The Vancouver Whitecaps recently made Parker, a Hicksville native and soon to be St. John’s grad, the 13th overall pick in the 2015 MLS Superdraft. He is the first St. John’s player to ever be selected in the first round of the Superdraft, and the first former LIJSL player taken in the first round since Brentwood’s Andrew Jean-Baptiste was taken eighth overall by Portland in 2012.
“It’s amazing,” Parker said after being selected by Vancouver. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
What has been truly amazing is Parker’s climb to the MLS. The son of a registered nurse and a police officer, Parker grew up in Hicksville and played in the Hicksville American Soccer Club of the Long Island Junior Soccer League, playing with the Hicksville Strikers through U19. He played four years of high school lacrosse and soccer at Hicksville High School where he developed into one of the top players in the country, earning numerous honors including NSCAA All-America and NSCAA All-Region II honors, and 2nd team ESPN RISE All-America accolades as a senior. He was also named the Gatorade New York Boys Soccer Player of the Year, the Nassau County Player of the Year, and Newsday’s Long Island Player of the Year after his senior season, and earned his way into the US U18 national team pool.
He moved on to St. John’s and the accolades kept rolling in. He was a Big East All-Rookie selection as a freshman with over 2,000 minutes played. He then went on to be a three-time All-Big East and All-Northeast Region selection. He led the Red Storm to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a Big East Championship, starting 79 of 80 games during his four year career.
“Tim’s been a mainstay for us – somebody who came in and was highly-recruited,” said St. John’s head coach Dave Masur. “He didn’t come in with a tremendous amount of fanfare but he certainly established himself from day one.”
What stood out immediately was the toughness and work ethic he brought to the field every day. Incredibly, Parker didn’t miss a single day of practice in his four years of college soccer.
“He had to be on every day for every practice and he did a phenomenal job at doing that,’ Masur said. “He never came in and complained about anything. Tim always led by example and wanted to really compete and prove himself on a daily basis even though he was clearly our best player.”
“Tim is a very strong, athletic, technically sound defender, has good speed, good agility, is strong in the air and has a great physical presence,” Masur said of his star pupil. “He can cover a lot of space, and he’s a very smart player. More important, he’s a very good person and a great teammate; somebody who wants to learn and get better. He always has the right mentality about working hard every day and training hard every day.”
Parker says that mentality comes from his upbringing and all the great lessons learned from his parents.
“My mom and dad have always kept me honest,” Parker said. “I’ve been humble but I’ve also been able to be proud when I can be. They always make sure I have the right head on my shoulders.”
All of that figured into the decision by the Whitecaps and their head coach Carl Robinson.
“He fits the mold that I am and he also fits the mold that the club is,” Robinson said. “He's very respectful, he's honest, he's hard working and I feel that he is MLS-ready now. I think he's got great attributes for a defender. It was the perfect fit for me.”
“We knew about Tim going into the combine and he was arguably the best centre back there,” Robinson continued. “They say that 13 is an unlucky number, but today it was our lucky number because we actually picked up the guy that I wanted.”