A time of adjustment for Valentin
PASO ROBLES, Calif. (January 31, 2011).- Rookie Zarek Valentin is having a great winter. In December he won the NCAA Championship with his college team, the University of Akron. In early January he trained with US U-20 Men’s National Team in Florida. And of course just a few weeks ago he was drafted fourth overall by Chivas USA in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
After a recent Goat’s training session in Paso Robles, cdchivasusa.com caught up with Zarek to ask him how he’s settling in.
“It’s a transition being here, since it’s my first year,” said Valentin. “But it’s been going well overall. I think over time I’ll get more comfortable with the group, and they’ll get more comfortable with me and it’ll just keep improving.”
As Valentin alluded to, it’s not easy going from a college sophomore to a professional in just a few short weeks. Luckily, he has Blair Gavin and Ben Zemanski, his former teammates at Akron, to help him settle in.
“They’ve been really helpful in the transition on and off the field,” said Valentin about Zemanski and Gavin. “They’ve helped me through the little steps: how to prepare, how to take care of my body, and everything on the field as well.”
Valentin said that Paso Robles reminded him a bit of his own hometown- Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He observed that it was secluded and quiet, especially the training complex, but he understands that’s one of the reasons why the team came here. The trip to the central coast has been perfect for building team chemistry, and according to Valentin that aspect of camp is going well so far.
Beyond meals with his teammates, and the trips to training Valentin admitted he hasn’t actually seen too much of Paso Robles. When asked what he’s been doing to fill the hours between the tough training sessions, he laughed.
“I’ve been sleeping. Just completely resting, doing nothing, trying to let my legs recover.”