Whitecaps bench Parke

BOB MACKIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:30 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Defender Jeff Parke will miss the first four games of his Vancouver Whitecaps' career because the United Soccer Leagues' First Division club is honouring a Major League Soccer performance-enhancing drugs suspension, Sun Media has learned.

Parke ended his fifth season as a New York Red Bull in 2008 by serving six games of a 10-game ban after testing positive for androstatriendione from an over-the-counter nutritional supplement.

The Seattle Sounders acquired the 27-year-old Pennsylvania native in the MLS expansion draft, but he did not remain with the team this spring.

The Whitecaps, who will join MLS in 2011, begin their defence of the 2008 USL championship on Saturday against the Charleston Battery.

USL spokesman Gerald Barnhart said franchises are responsible for anti-doping policies and procedures because there is no agreement with MLS on observing suspensions.

"We do not have an arrangement such as a collective bargaining agreement with a players union," Barnhart said. "We can't dictate and enforce such policies as a third party organization like other North American sports leagues do."

The irony is that the title sponsor of Parke's former is a high-caffeine, high-sugar soft drink that is marketed as a performance enhancer.

Scotland's Willie Johnston, a star of the original North American Soccer League Whitecaps, was sent home from the 1978 World Cup in Argentina after testing positive for an illegal hay fever medication. He resurrected his career as a Vancouver fan favourite.


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