When New York City FC announced the contract extension for Keaton Parks, many were happy with the move. The midfielder has been vital to the Starting XI over the last few seasons. Additionally, he is a player who has so much passion for the club on and off the pitch. He is a true Pigeon.
There is still a chance Parks might leave one day to take his shot in Europe again. At least for now, he will remain with the team for another few years. Moreover, this means he is truly a veteran on the team since he joined the club in 2019.
That is probably why Parks wants to take on a leadership role within NYCFC. "I want to be a leader. I want to be more vocal," he told NYCFC.com. "I want to stand out and be a leader by example, but also by speaking more and getting everybody on the same page."
That is good to see that Parks wants to step up. It feels like he could easily be a leader, and it was somewhat surprising he did not step up in 2023. Perhaps the mass exodus of veteran players was not expected, especially Maxime Chanot during the summer.
Keaton Parks wants to become a leader
Still, Parks stepping up means NYCFC is starting to see new veterans take over the leadership roles vacated by players like Chanot, Alexander Callens, and Sean Johnson. Thiago Martins stepped in when Chanot left over the summer. James Sands has been questionable when he wore the captain's armband, but he is nonetheless a leader on the roster.
How will Parks turn himself into a leader? He needs to be there for his fellow NYCFC teammates and act as someone others can turn to. He needs to give directions on the pitch during games. He should help Nick Cushing and the other coaches during training.
Plus, the midfielder recognizes not every player responds in the same way. "I have to learn to be more vocal and to read my teammates and understand who needs what because not everybody acts the same and responds the same," he said to NYCFC.com. "There's a lot more homework that goes into it."
He added, "I want to help the team grow as well as the young guys who are coming in and teach them from my experiences. I'm excited. I want to do this and I'm happy to play off all of my experiences because I've been through a lot here and abroad and I'm looking forward to growing in my role as well as helping the younger ones grow."
It is admirable that Parks wants to become a leader in 2024. Talk is one thing; he needs to put his plan into action. It does appear he is capable of taking on the leadership role. One should expect him to naturally become a leader.
Who knows? New York City FC needs to name a new captain. Right now, Martins is the front-runner. Parks stepping up might put his name into the hat.