U.S. U-20s Eliminated at World Cup,
But Yedlin’s Star Grows Brighter
Few American players have seen their stock rise as quickly as DeAndre Yedlin. Less than a year ago, the 18-year-old Seattle native was starring in the PDL for the Sounders U-23s, having recently completed his freshman year at powerhouse University of Akron following a fantastic youth career with Crossfire Premier, Northwest Nationals, Emerald City FC and the Seattle Sounders Academy.
In the 12 months since, Yedlin’s career has been on a rise as eye-popping as his unique hairstyle. After being signed in January by Sounders FC as their first-ever Homegrown Player, Yedlin immediately earned his way into the starting lineup, and scored a goal in CONCACAF Champions League game against Mexico’s Tigres FC to spark a dramatic come-from-behind win.
Then, in June, Yedlin’s career took yet another major step, when he was named to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the Under-20 FIFA World Cup. The now 19-year-old Yedlin started all three of the team’s games in Turkey, and played every minute of the first two before being taken out in the second half of the third and final game, against Ghana, as an injury precaution.
Team USA finished 0-2-1 in the tournament’s “Group of Death,” losing by identical scores of 4-1 to Spain and Ghana, and earning a 1-1 draw with fellow powerhouse France.
The lack of wins from the U.S. squad, however, didn’t deter critics from taking note of Yedlin’s strong individual performance. While lamenting the lack of depth in the U.S. defense, Grantland blogger Noah Davis, the deputy editor of American Soccer Now, noted, “One bright spot was the play of rapidly rising Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin.”
Yedlin says that despite failing to advance from the Group of Death, his experience was positive — and will help him when he rejoins the Sounders this month.
“Obviously we didn’t go as far as we would’ve liked to, but just to see the level that those players are at and see where I need to get to hopefully one day play in Europe is great,” Yedlin told The Seattle Times after his return. “It’s good to get it firsthand.”