FRISCO, Texas - With the third overall pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, FC Dallas chose freshman winger Isaiah Parker from Saint Louis University.
“It was crazy, I couldn’t hear the draft livestream but I read the lips and I was just super excited to be joining this program,” Parker told FCDallas.com after his selection. “It means the world to me. I’m just super thankful to all my family, friends, teammates and coaches who helped me throughout this process and I wouldn’t be here without them.”
A Gurnee, Illinois native, Parker played his youth soccer with FC United Soccer Club before committing to SLU ahead of the 2021 season. In his sole collegiate campaign, Parker registered three goals and seven assists from 17 starts and was included in the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Rookie team. Listed at 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, Parker was named Rookie of the Week for the A-10 Conference three times and was included in Top Drawer Soccer’s first-team Freshman Best XI team.
While naturally a winger or forward, there’s a possibility that Parker could be converted into a left back (where FCD is thin since the departure of Johnny Nelson) due to his defensive work rate and strong left foot. At just 19 years old, Parker was among the youngest players in the draft and has plenty of room to grow.
"He's a young player that impacts the game," said FCD head coach Nico Estévez. "He has qualities to dribble inside, dribble outside, get crosses in, and he has good physicality for MLS. He's also a very versatile player that can play winger and outside back. We watched him in detail and we selected him because of his quality to adapt to different position and help the roster to be more complete."
Parker describes is playstyle as “fast, electric, and hardworking on both sides of the ball” and believes he can adapt to whatever role the coaching staff needs: “I’ve played left back a couple times before and I’d say it’s a position I could excel in once I get a little more comfortable. But I think I’m pretty versatile and can be used in different ways on the field.”
Although his pro career is just beginning, Parker already has a familiar in-state rival. Saint Louis teammate Kipp Keller was taken fifth overall by Austin FC, one spot before Dallas’ second First Round pick.
“I congratulated Kipp and he did the same for me,” Parker said. “I was kind of hoping that Austin wouldn’t pick him and that he’d go to Dallas and we could be teammates but now that we’re rivals, I’m looking forward to going up against him.”
Parker will join his FCD teammates when the squad convenes for preseason camp on Jan. 18 at Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco.
“I know that FC Dallas has an incredible fanbase and that the club places its trust in young guys to go out there and perform,” he said. “I think it’ll be a great fit for me.”