From the moment Kevin Parsemain’s name first appeared on the list of Seattle Sounders preseason trialists, there was something seemingly different about him.
Chalk it up to the fact that he had actually played a game in Seattle a few months prior or that he happened to score in that game -- a penalty against Mexico in the Gold Cup. Or maybe it was that he had a resume that was equal parts intriguing and mysterious -- his most notable club time was spent in the French fourth division but he also had 23 goals in 32 appearances for Martinique.
Whatever it was, he immediately seemed like a player that would be worth watching.
And sure enough, he gave us reason to believe he could actually be something. If there was any doubt as to his ability to grab our imagination, there was this volley against the Vancouver Whitecaps
What made this even better was how he just walked away like it was no big deal, as if this was the kind of goal he simply expected to be scoring. It was cold, stone cold. That the highlight package identified him as a Houston Dynamo player only seemed to build the legend.
And there were more. Parsemain would finish the preseason as the Sounders' leading scorer, bagging three goals. He'd eventually score two more goals during Reserve Game action, finding the back of the net twice against the University of Portland a couple weeks ago.
It took a little longer than expected, but the Sounders finally signed< Parsemain at the end of March. Against the Portland Timbers, he made his first appearance on the gameday roster.
It all seemed to be progressing nicely. The only thing left was for him to score a late, meaningless goal for his legend status to be finalized.
But, then, playing in a reserve game against Oregon State this past week something unexpected happened. Parsemain went in for a 50/50 ball against the goalkeeper, got his cleats stuck in the grass and went down in a heap. The 26-year-old immediately grabbed his face. Not because that was where he was hurt, but because he knew something very bad had happened. Sure enough, it was an ACL tear.
The Sounders still don't know how long it will take for Parsemain to recover. They aren't performing the surgery immediately because they are apparently waiting for him to regain some range of motion. But the best-case scenario is that he's out for a few months. There's a very good chance that he won't make a senior-team appearance this year. You'd like to think he can make a full recovery and pick up where he left off, but chances are that we won't see him get meaningful minutes until next preseason.
Parsemain's potential will continue to be something in which we can put our dreams and hopes. He will remain a shiny object who we can dream about. It's heartbreaking, to be sure. But, somehow, I think that will only serve to grow the legend.
Sports are funny that way: the less we know, the greater a player can seem. Hopefully, Parsemain gets a chance to make good on some of the promise we saw. But if he doesn't, he'll always be the player who got away. The guy with the rocket right foot and the sniper's conscience. Whether he suits up in rave green, his status in Sounders lore is secure. Maybe that's just the way it has to be.