HOW ACQUIRED: Traded from the Montreal Impact on January 12, 2016.
After two years in Europe, Zarek Valentin is back home. After starting his career in MLS and leaping at Europe, Valentin is back in the league, reunited with former college coach Caleb Porter. It’s easy to see why Porter wanted him back Stateside, too. Valentin is a versatile defender who can slot in as either a fullback (where perhaps he's best) or center back, which is a vital characteristic when filling depth on any side. Further, his foot skills and latent desire to play out of the back should fit in well with a number of different tactical aesthetics.
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INTERNATIONAL: Valentin was an integral part of the U.S. U20 team for the 2009-2011 cycle, earning more than 30 caps in that time. He’s also spent time with the U23s.
OUTSIDE MLS: The talented defender spent the first two years of his MLS career with Chivas USA and the Montreal Impact before leaping at a contract from Norwegian club FK Bodø/Glimt, where he played for two years and made nearly 60 appearances.
COLLEGE: Valentin was a key part of arguably the greatest single college team in history. The 2010 Akron team that won the school’s only national championship under Porter played truly aspirant soccer, and Valentin was probably that team’s best defender.