Amro Tarek
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New York Red Bull’s December signing Amro Tarek went from nine teams in eight years before coming to New York, but things didn’t get easier here as he’s looking to get playing time in the best defense in the MLS.

The last player the New York Red Bulls brought in during the 2018 season, Amro Tarek, has a story a reporter with the most imaginative fake-news wouldn’t dare make up. Tarek has been in 10 teams across three different continents in the first nine years of his career.

And about how he joined the Red Bulls? Sporting director Denis Hamlett traded the 26-year-old on Dec. 11, 2018, when the club was surprisingly down to one central defender.

Once a Metro reporter Austin Fildo highlighted that Tarek “saved the day” because the fans didn’t have to deal with the worries of having just one center back on their team’s roster, even though it was the offseason.

Now as a Red Bull player, Tarek is facing one of the most challenging battles of his career: he’s fighting for playing time in the best defense in the MLS.

The fellow defenders the ex-Orlando SC player are going up against are at halfbacks: 2018 MLS Defender of the Year Aaron Long, Tim Parker, rookies Roy Boateng and Sean Nealis, and at left back Kemar Lawrence, who made the Best XI last year and rookie Janos Loebe.

“I’m very happy to join one of the best teams in the MLS,” Tarek said in an interview with the club, “it’s good to know the board in the first days and the coaching staff and I’m willing to do my best here.”

He later added, “Of course I know they were already the best defense in the league.

“It’s [more] competitive than any other team in the MLS so I just have to adjust as quick as possible and get used to the training sessions.”

Tarek made an early statement on Wednesday by scoring a header in the Red Bulls’ 3-2 scrimmage loss to Philadelphia Union. It was only a scrimmage but the defender who had trouble getting playing time and staying with one club was on target in only his second time playing with The Metros.

Going back to 2011, Tarek was playing in Germany’s fourth division with SC Freiburg’s second team. He played 15 matches for them but later transferred to Wolfsburg’s second team who also plays in the fourth division.

The 26-year-old stayed with Wolfsburg II for just a season as well then went to Croatia to try out for HNK Hajduk Split, a club from the country’s top flight. Unfortunately, the California native didn’t make the team. He then decided to return to the U.S. but only to play 82 minutes in the MLS Reserve League for Chivas USA.

After his match in the MLS Reserve League, Tarek went on a trial with German juggernauts F.C. Bayern Munich in 2014 but didn’t succeed. Hence, the halfback moved back to the country where he was raised, Egypt, to play for El Gouna.

As the Egyptian league is less competitive than the European leagues, Tarek was a regular starter for El Gouna. Sadly the cub was suspended before the 26-year-old could finish a second season with them.

Back to Europe it was for another trial. This time, Tarek went to Switzerland to showcase his talent to F.C. Luzern. His trial with Luzern appeared to be unsuccessful as the club didn’t acquire him.

The former Wolfsburg II player tried his luck in Spain later in the summer of 2015. This time he got himself a deal with La Liga side Real Betis. “It was very good because I was playing in not a very big club in Egypt [El Gouna] and to get this offer from Real Betis in one of the best leagues in the world, La Liga. It was a big move for me but it was a hard time for me, I didn’t play,” Tarek to Orlando SC.

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Therefore the Egyptian-raised moved back to the U.S. and joined Columbus Crew on loan. Tarek failed to get playing time there too as he made just one appearance off the bench then was later released from the loan move.

Beticos also let the center back go later on June 13, 2016, so he moved back to Egypt and signed a deal with ENPPI. After just one season ENPPI ended his contract.

He moved to another Egyptian club Waldi Delga SC, whom he took part in 11 outings with. While playing for them he was called on the Egyptian national team. Six months after joining Waldi, Tarek transferred back to the MLS but with Orlando this time.

The 26-year-old inspiringly broke into The Lions’ starting line-up and even made Egypt’s 2018 pre-eliminatory roster but couldn’t seal his name in the final roster.

Although he was getting playing time Tarek was inconsistent at Orlando. The Mane Land reporter Logan Oliver noted: “at his best [he] could go toe-to-toe with most forwards in MLS and showed his potential as a player, but there were too many times when careless giveaways or poor positioning allowed the opposition to take advantage.”

As his passing game and positioning are the former Waldi player’s weaknesses; his speed, strength, slide-tackling ability, and versatility (he can also play left back and left wing) are his strong points.

The former Columbus player “saved the day” for New York when he was traded in he could help them save a season if he plays up to his ability, but first Tarek will have to pass his most arduous test in the MLS and be a regular in the toughest backline in the league.

Interestingly enough, RBNY’s next scrimmage is against the 26-year-old’s last club Orlando on Saturday.

Originally from Haiti, Ralph 'Onz' Chery started his writing career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and other local leagues. After graduating, Onz started covering the New York Red Bulls for ESNY and joined Haitian Times.