Portland Timbers acquire defender Zarek Valentin from Montreal Impact in exchange for international spot

Zarek Valentin - Montreal Impact - MP7 OK

The Portland Timbers continue to reload after capturing the franchise’s inaugural MLS Cup, announcing Tuesday that they had acquired defender Zarek Valentin from the Montreal Impact in exchange for an international roster spot for the 2016 season.

Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Valentin, 24, spent the last three seasons playing for Bodo/Glimt in Norway, though the Impact retained his rights in MLS.

“Zarek’s addition provides the club with a versatile defender whose experience in MLS and Norway complements an already strong group during a busy 2016 schedule that includes multiple competitions,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers, in a team statement.

Valentin made a total of 55 league appearances in Norway, joining Bodo/Glimt on loan in March 2013 and helping them to promotion before signing permanently ahead of the 2014 season. Though he missed all but three games that year with a torn left Achilles, he bounced back to make 24 appearances in 2015 and help the club stay in the top division in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008-09.

Originally drafted No. 4 overall by Chivas USA in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Valentin made 24 appearances for them in his rookie season before being selected by the Impact in the 2011 Expasion Draft. He played 15 games during the Impact’s inaugural MLS season before heading to Norway. Valentin will be reunited with his coach at the University of Akron, Caleb Porter – now the Timbers head coach – for the first time since capturing the 2010 NCAA Division I men’s soccer title for the first time in program history.

“We are getting Zarek at an optimum time in his playing career,” said Porter, in a statement. “He cut his teeth in MLS as a promising young defender and now his stint in Norway has matured his game even further. He is capable of playing any position in the back four and I expect him to earn a significant role in our squad.”

Valentin was also a fixture for US youth national teams, appearing in over 25 matches for the US Under-20 national team from 2009-11 and also featuring for the youth national teams at a variety of other age levels.