BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, May 18, 2010
As the US U-20 national team assembles in Holland this week for the fourth gathering this cycle, one of the many European based players who will be looking to impress US head coach Thomas Rongen is left back Parker Walsh.
Walsh, 18, is currently with the Karlsruhe SC U19 team where he has been since the start this season.
After impressing at his tryout in the beginning of the season, he was offered to play with the U19 team under an amateur agreement. Once this season is complete, he says he will weigh his options.
"I am currently playing for Karlsruhe U19 team and training with the U23 team," Walsh said of his situation with Karlsruhe. "We have three games left this season and are trying to qualify for German U19 Championship."
"I was offered to play with Karlsruhe U19 for the 2009/2010 season after a two week tryout," he continued. "I graduated high school a year early and now I am reviewing my options to continue with Karlsruhe along with other options in Germany. I am playing with U19's amateurs and still have option of attending the University of Virginia."
While Walsh has numerous options for next year, he is happy at Karlsruhe and the quality of the coaching has created a good fit.
"I couldn't ask for a more perfect situation here in Germany and Karlsruhe," the Roanoke, Virginia native explained. "I love it here and everyone has been great to me. The coaching is a little different just because of the style of play. Here the soccer has a more direct style of play compared to Spain. Overall, the coaches want a player who is technically, fit, and mentally capable of playing through adversity."
If Walsh stays with Karlsruhe, his primary goal will obviously be to play with the first team. His position as a left back is not very deep within the organization and Walsh is confident of his ability to rise up the depth chart.
"Ultimately I want to play for the first team.," he added. "There have been talks at the club about the lack of depth and inconsistency of the left backs at the club so hopefully I can get a chance to prove myself. Left defender is my position of choice and I love to create havoc down the left side of the field. I think I will have the opportunity to play next year with Karlsruhe and hopefully I can make a decision in the next couple of weeks."
As Karlsruhe's U19 season is in the final weeks of its season, Walsh will look to also contribute and impress with the US U20 national team which is playing on European soil for the first time this season.
"Anytime you can represent your country is an honor," Walsh said of his U20 ambitions. "I am excited that I even have the chance to be considered. I look forward to being able to show what I have learned in Germany this past year. I think the mixture of Europe and college players will be interesting and I am excited to be part of the team."
With the US U20 team, Walsh will be looking to establish himself at the left-back position. It is a position that has traditionally been very short on depth for US national teams at all levels.
Over the course of this cycle, Walsh will look to claim the left back spot among a group of players that include Tyler Polak and Greg Garza, neither of whom are with the US team in Holland.
The coming weeks will certainly be important for Walsh at both the club and country level. On one level he will be looking to impress the US staff in his U20 debut and on the other level he will have to make his decision as to where to continue his club career next season.
For the US U20 team, Walsh's goal is to obviously put himself into contention for a roster spot for next year's U20 World Cup team. At the club level, his goal is to stay with Karlsruhe and fight for a spot on the first team.
"In a year I would want to be contending for a starting spot with the senior club here in Karlsruhe," Walsh concluded. "Hopefully in three years I will be playing first league here in Germany or in a top five league in Europe."