Yedlin returns to Sounders after World Cup stint, ponders possible Europe move

Staff writerJuly 7, 2014 

— Seattle right back DeAndre Yedlin returned to training Monday, looking back at his World Cup experiences and ahead to a possible transfer to Europe while promising to keep his focus on Sounders FC.

“It’s easy to focus on a team when you love them,” he said.

Yedlin had been away since mid-May when he reported to the United States national team’s World Cup camp. He appeared in three World Cup matches while elevating his international profile enough to stir reports of an international transfer.

Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer released a statement Monday confirming that Yedlin “has drawn lots of interest … from leagues around the world” but that “for now, DeAndre is in Seattle and … if something transpires with a foreign team, we will announce it.”

Yedlin largely echoed that attitude.

“I’m kind of letting just my representatives take care of that,” he said. “… But for now, I’m just focused on Seattle, focused on hopefully winning (the) MLS Cup.”

The transfer report that has the most traction has Yedlin headed to AS Roma. According to that report, the transaction would allow Yedlin to remain in Seattle through the end of his MLS season.

Such a deal would provide Roma with a speedy 20-year-old with World Cup experience, and it would get Yedlin a significant raise along with a chance to play in Serie A, the top level of Italian soccer.

Coach Sigi Schmid said the Sounders would benefit from allocation money, which could be used for player acquisition or for longer-term benefits such as improving club facilities or the Sounders Academy system — which produced Yedlin.

“You want to do what’s best for the players and help the players to continue to grow and advance,” Schmid said. “We’re a club that wants to win and wants to succeed, but I also think that success is predicated on when you do what’s best for the players you’re going to have success.”

Yedlin said that playing in Europe has been one of his career goals. But he added, “that shifts a little bit as the MLS gets better and better.”

The second-year pro acknowledged that the past couple of months have been a whirlwind. He said he wasn’t certain he would make the World Cup team; and if he did, he didn’t know how much he would play, if at all.

He sat out the USA opener against Ghana but was used as a reserve in the next three matches: 18 minutes against Portugal, six against Germany, and 89 minutes in the elimination loss against Belgium, which went to extra time.

Since then, Yedlin has the media rounds, including appearances on NBC’s “Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning” and ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

“I’m trying not to pay attention to it,” Yedlin said of his rising stardom. “… There’s guys out here that are trying to take my spot, obviously, and I’m trying to hold my spot by any means. I’m going to come back, work as hard as I did when I left.”

Schmid said that’s the attitude he would expect from Yedlin.

“DeAndre is DeAndre,” he said. “He has his feet pretty well on the ground. I know it’s (possible) to get carried away with things, but he’s pretty down to earth.”

While Yedlin is back training with the team, neither he nor his coach were specific about when he will return to game action. The Sounders play a U.S. Open Cup match against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday in Tukwila, and an MLS match against the Timbers on Sunday in Seattle.

“Physically, I feel pretty good,” Yedlin said. “I think mentally I’m still a little bit tired. We’ll see how it is come Wednesday.”

Schmid had previously said that Yedlin and national team captain Clint Dempsey will be available for the Sunday match, which will be nationally televised and played with CenturyLink Field opened to its full capacity of around 67,000.

Dempsey was given extra time off after the World Cup, with Schmid saying only that he will return this week.

ADDED TIME

U.S. Soccer announced Monday that if the Sounders advance in their U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against Portland, they will play host to the winner of the MLS Chicago Fire-NASL Atlanta Silverbacks match in the semifinal Aug. 13. … Schmid said Obafemi Martins (hamstring) is progressing, although he gave no commitment if Martins would be available for either of the Timbers games. Defender Djimi Traore (adductor), played 55 minutes in the Sounders reserves’ 2-0 loss to NASL Edmonton on Sunday. Meanwhile, outside defender Dylan Remick (adductor) is scheduled to return to full training Tuesday (July 8).

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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