At this time last year, forward Kevin Parsemain was on his way to being the top goal scorer of the preseason for the Seattle Sounders.
Then all that promise crumpled with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and Parsemain didn’t see one second of action during the regular season.
“That was pretty frustrating,” he said last week. “I tied for scoring lead in the preseason. Very good attention on me. But I think nothing can explain when you don’t play for one year. I don’t know what I can say except I’m really frustrated, I want to play this year. I want to show what I am able to do.”
That chance hasn’t yet come, as Parsemain sat out the first two friendlies of this preseason. However, more opportunities will come over the next 11 days as four games await in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona.
Also in the tournament are MLS clubs Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids, and host FC Tucson of the Premier Development League. Seattle will begin play against Tucson at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and then meet SKC at 7 p.m. Saturday, New England at 5 p.m. Feb. 25 and then play a final match Feb. 28 with time and opponent to be determined by results.
“It’s just a matter of getting game minutes, game fitness,” coach Sigi Schmid said of his team’s time in the desert. “… And to start working more on our shape and how we’re going to relate to each other out on the field.”
Parsemain hasn’t been part of any of that so far. But on Saturday, he scored a goal in a scrimmage before the team flew to Arizona.
“This is really the first time that he’s had to go in there full-out, where it’s full pressure and intensity right from the start,” Schmid said Saturday. “It took him, I think, a week or so to 10 days to really feel comfortable. But especially in the last four or five days I think he’s really stepped it up. He did well, scored a goal.”
Parsemain, 27, has generally had that knack. He began his professional career in 2004 with Club Franciscain in his hometown of Le Francois, Martinique. He jumped to the French second division from 2006 to 2009 and then returned to the Martinique first division from 2009 to 2014.
He scored 11 goals in six qualifying games in the 2012 Caribbean Cup qualification and added two more in the 2013 Caribbean Cup. He captained Martinique through the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring one goal in three matches. He then scored twice in 105 minutes of preseason action with the Sounders in 2014 before suffering the knee injury.
Parsemain realizes that forward is a position of strength and depth for the Sounders. Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are cemented as the starters. And so far this preseason, veterans Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper and rookie Darwin Jones have come off the bench.
However, Parsemain believes that once he is given a chance, it’s up to him to force Schmid’s hand.
“I know that there is a lot of strikers, big names on the team, that it’s going to be really hard to play,” he said. “But … on the pitch if you score, if you have stats, they are going to play you even if you play next to big guys. The stats don’t lie. You have to be ready and score and take every opportunity you can have. Even if it’s five minutes at the end of the game, do something. I think that’s going to be for me this year. I’m not expecting to be starting 11 yet. I just want to enjoy playing in front of all those fans. I’m so frustrated. I can’t wait.”