By DAN KARELL
Zarek Valentin’s season is over just as it was getting started.
Only two games into the 2014 Tippeligaen season with club Bodø/Glimt, the 22-year-old American defender suffered a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg, according to reports in Norway, ending his season. The injury occurred late in Wednesday morning’s practice and was taken of the field on a stretcher.
Valentin is set to undergo an operation on Thursday to repair the tendon. The reports in Norway state that it could take at least six months for him to return to full fitness.
He thought someone kicked him down, and that’s a bad sign,” Bodø/Glimt head coach and former New York Red Bulls assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorson told Norweigian newspaper Avisa Nordland. “Of course it is bitter, but there is nothing we can do about it if the Achilles is torn. We just have to build him up again.”
Valentin confirmed the news on his official Twitter account just hours after reports surfaced in Norway.
Yes, I tore my Achilles today. Yes, my season is over, but yes I will come back stronger than ever I promise you that. This is my journey…
— Zarek Valentin (@ZarekValentin) April 9, 2014
Valentin is in his second season with Bodø/Glimt, but his first after making the move to Norway permanent. Valentin played 27 times last season for Bodø/Glimt as they won promotion back to the Tippeligaen following a four year stay in the second division. In 2012, Valentin spent the season with the Montreal Impact, making 15 appearances and scoring one goal.
The full back was drafted from the University of Akron as the fourth overall selection in the 2011 MLS Draft by Chivas USA. He spent just one season there before moving on to Montreal, making 25 appearances for the Goats.
Valentin was a regular for U.S. youth sides growing up, featuring for the U-15s, U-17s, U-20s, and even the U-23s in their attempt to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.