Zarek Valentin

Zarek Chase Valentin (born August 6, 1991) is an American soccer player who currently plays for the Houston Dynamo in Major League Soccer.

Zarek Valentin
Personal information
Full name Zarek Chase Valentin
Date of birth (1991-08-06) August 6, 1991
Place of birth Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Left-back
Club information
Current team
Houston Dynamo
Youth career
2006 IMG Soccer Academy
2007–2009 PA Classics
2009–2010 Akron Zips
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009 Reading Rage 4 (0)
2010 Michigan Bucks 5 (1)
2011 Chivas USA 25 (0)
2012–2013 Montreal Impact 15 (1)
2013Bodø/Glimt (loan) 28 (1)
2014–2015 Bodø/Glimt 27 (1)
2016–2019 Portland Timbers 107 (2)
2017–2019 Portland Timbers 2 3 (0)
2020– Houston Dynamo 0 (0)
National team
2009–2011 United States U20 31 (0)
2012 United States U23 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of October 15, 2019
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of March 4, 2012


College and amateur

Valentin graduated from Manheim Township High School before enrolling at the University of Akron in 2009. He started all 25 games for the Zips in his freshman year, and was off the field for only 11 minutes. He was a key contributor in defense and allowed just seven goals all season, helping them finish with a (23-1-0) season until ultimately losing in penalties during the NCAA National Championship in 2009. Although the team didn't take home the title, this was their first year making it to the finals. During just his first year in Ohio, amongst many recognitions, he was named Mid-American Conference Newcomer of the Year, College Soccer News All-Freshman First Team, All-MAC First Team, University of Akron All-Tournament Team Defensive MVP (Sept. 18-20), and made the College Soccer News Freshman Top 100 list.

In his 2010 season at the University of Akron, Valentin helped lead his team to the NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship, where the team won the school's first ever National Championship. As an important part of the defense, Valentin let in only 16 goals over the entire season.

During his college years Valentin also played with Reading Rage[1] and the Michigan Bucks[2] in the USL Premier Development League.

At the completion of his 2010 season at the University of Akron, Valentin chose to forgo his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility, declaring for the MLS SuperDraft and signing a Generation Adidas contract with Major League Soccer as one of eleven players that year.


Chivas USA

Valentin was drafted in the first round, fourth overall, of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft by Chivas USA.[3] He made his professional debut on March 19, 2011, in Chivas's first game of the 2011 MLS Season, a 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City.[4]

Montreal Impact

After just one year in the Generation Adidas program, Valentin graduated and was announced by the MLS as a 2011 Generation Adidas graduate. This accomplishment made Valentin one of three players to ever graduate from the program in one year. In the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft, Chivas USA took a risk with Valentin, leaving him exposed and was ultimately selected by expansion side Montreal Impact.[5]

FK Bodø/Glimt

Valentin joined Adeccoligaen club FK Bodø/Glimt on loan on March 27, 2013, until the end of the year.[6] Following a successful season that saw the club promoted, Valentin signed a permanent deal.[7]

Portland Timbers

On January 12, 2016, the Portland Timbers acquired defender Zarek Valentin from the Montreal Impact in exchange for an international roster slot for the 2016 season.[8]

Houston Dynamo

On November 19, 2019, Valentin was selected by Nashville SC in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft and was subsequently traded to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for Joe Willis.[9]

Career statistics

Club Season League League Cup League Cup Continental Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Chivas USA 2011 MLS 25 0 0 0 25 0
Montreal Impact 2012 MLS 15 1 0 0 2 0 17 1
Bodø/Glimt 2013 Adeccoligaen 28 1 3 0 31 1
2014 Tippeligaen 3 0 0 0 3 0
2015 Tippeligaen 24 1 3 0 27 1
Portland Timbers 2016 MLS 16 1 0 0 - - - - 16 1
Career total9536000201033

Stats accurate as of October 18, 2015


Valentin has been a member of various US Youth National teams, including the U-20s, U-18s, U-17 and U-15s. He currently has 29 caps for the United States U-20 men's national soccer team. Valentin was a valuable part of the 2010 Milk Cup winning squad. He assisted the final goal in their 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the final.

On September 15, 2016, Valentin was called up to the Puerto Rico national football team by coach Carlos García Cantarero ahead of two 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifying games against Curaçao and Antigua and Barbuda.[10]

Personal life

Zarek is the younger brother of fellow retired soccer player Julian Valentin, who played for MLS club LA Galaxy and NASL club FC Tampa Bay. In 2010 Zarek was featured in The New York Times Magazine[11] as one of eleven Next-Gen American Soccer players. Valentin speaks fluent Spanish, and is of Puerto Rican descent.[12]


University of Akron

United States


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