Zarek Valentin on the ball
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo defender Zarek Valentin: "Sports come second at this point"

It didn’t take Zarek Valentin much time to gain perspective when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even in the hours immediately after Major League Soccer suspended games for 30 days, the Houston Dynamo defender stepped off the training pitch Thursday and said safety is of the utmost importance.

The Dynamo were preparing to take in the Seattle Sounders at BBVA Stadium Saturday when word came down that games were being temporarily halted.

“We are disappointed that we had to suspend any games, but the safety of our players, fans, supporters, and the people of Houston, the United States, and even the world for that matter, is the priority,” he said on Thursday.

Valentin understood “mass gatherings are not the safest things to be around right now,” and his thoughts immediately went to his family, particularly his grandmother.

“I think about my grandmother, who is in a nursing home, and the way that in Seattle [the virus] has gone through nursing homes and sadly ended some lives there,” he said. “We think about our families and our loved ones, and first and foremost, that is the most important thing, to take care of the community.”

Valentin spoke of disappointment over the season pausing, especially after it just starting. Sports are often the escape during troubling times, but this is the rare and unprecedented exception.

“It is obviously tough, because you never want to see these things happen in sports, but I think it goes way beyond that. … sports come second at this point,” Valentin said “So it is a matter of understanding that and trying to make sure everyone is in the safest place possible.”