SD to Oakland: Tarek Morad Looks To Leave His Mark With New Team
It is always important to stand up against bigotry and set an example of leadership ….
It seems just like it was only yesterday when that now famous incident happened on that faithful night of September 30th, 2020 when San Diego Loyal SC stood in solidarity and came to the defense of their teammate, Collin Martin, throwing away any chance of making the postseason.
Among the many players who ardently defended Martin, defender Tarek Morad, despite only having signed officially with the team just thirty days before, reacted like someone who had been with the team since inception.
I had the opportunity to interview Morad, who most recently saw action against San Jose Earthquakes when his new team Oakland Roots SC entered their first season in the USL Championship.
Oakland comes off an impressive 2020 fall season competing in NISA where they reached the championship match. This Northern California squad will undoubtedly be a tough match for any USL Championship opponent in 2021.
Interview with Oakland Roots SC’s Tarek Morad:
Hector Trujillo: How did you land with your new team Oakland Roots?
Tarek Morad: It was a process of them reaching out to my agent and expressing their interest.
Honestly, I wanted to ideally stay in San Diego, but I really liked the situation here in Oakland. Ultimately, I made the decision to come here because I liked everything that was happening with the club and their project looked very promising to me.
Hector Trujillo: In what way are the two teams similar or different from each other — both off and on the field?
Tarek Morad: I definitely think there are some similarities and some synergies between the clubs.
I think with San Diego, given what happened last year towards the end of the season, and what’s happening here in Oakland in terms of their social mission and multiple programs to create a positive impact in the community, share a vision of a club’s role in the community.
San Diego Loyal and Oakland Roots SC both have a very similar, if not the same, moral perspective of what a club should mean.
It’s very cool to be a part of clubs that really stand for something and want to do more than just put a product on the field on weekends.
Hector Trujillo: Do you have any lasting memories of your time playing in San Diego?
Tarek Morad: It was good. I came in the beginning of August to try out for a few weeks and to train with the guys — and it was an easy transition to the group since I’m from Southern California.
I already knew a lot of the guys, I had played against a lot of them, and I had even played with a few of them.
Hector Trujillo: What was it like playing for Landon Donovan?
Tarek Morad: Playing for Landon Donovan was a great experience.
Getting to know him more on a personal level, chatting with him everyday, having him give me advice on different ways to look at the game or how to approach any situation was great.
It was great to learn from Landon Donovan and try to pick his brain to get as much as I could.
Hector Trujillo: What are your thoughts on the regular season schedule having Oakland play the first four games on the road?
Tarek Morad: Oakland chose to have the first few games away essentially because the home pitch we’re using for the season is at a community college and they had to install a specific turf system over the current pitch, so it’s essentially an overhaul of the whole pitch itself.
Also, because of the covid situation, Oakland didn’t want to host games without fans, obviously. By the time we have our first home game in June, we should hopefully have full capacity.
Our inaugural home opener is on the 19th, so it actually kind of works out perfectly, and I hopefully things go according to plan.
Hector Trujillo: Oakland Roots and San Diego Loyal don’t face each other for the first time until June 19th, what do you think the atmosphere at those games will be like?
Tarek Morad: Hopefully Torero Stadium is packed, hopefully Laney College in Oakland is packed. There’s a lot of California derbies, so it’s going to be good to have that first game in San Diego but being on the other side is definitely going to be an interesting experience, but one I’m really looking forward to. I’m excited for those match ups for sure.
Hector Trujillo: Any final words for the San Diego fan base as the regular season is about to get underway?
Tarek Morad: It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to meet a lot of the people, but I definitely felt the love on social media and other outlets where a lot of people reached out and shared their love and support of myself and my involvement with the club. It was great, definitely excited to play in front of them. I will be on the other side but I will always have a special place in my heart for San Diego, regardless.
Photo Credit: Oakland Roots SC and San Diego Loyal