DeAndre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey returned to Seattle Sounders FC from national team duty Friday and smack into the controversy that has erupted between their USA coach and their MLS commissioner.
National team coach Jurgen Klinsmann began the week by saying the moves of Dempsey and Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley from Europe to MLS would make it harder for them to retain their previous levels of play. On Thursday, Garber fired back in a conference call saying that the comments were detrimental to the league, wrong and personally infuriating.
“I try not to pay too much attention to that,” Yedlin said. “That’s between them. I’m just trying to focus on what’s at hand here with the Supporters’ Shield games coming up, which are very important. Just try to leave that to them and let that deal with that themselves.”
Yedlin’s career path is taking him in the other direction: from MLS to Europe. He will complete this season in Seattle before transferring to Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. And while he also cited personal considerations, he implied the higher level of competition was part of the reason for his move.
“Obviously, the MLS is a growing league,” Yedlin said. “It’s a league that’s getting better and better. Right now I think everybody would agree that Europe — not all of Europe, but certain leagues — have better competition than MLS. That’s how it is right now. It’s not to say the MLS can’t top them, but right now that’s just how it is. So right now I feel like this is a good step in my career, and I’m confident that I made the right choice.”
Dempsey returned from Florida suffering from cold symptoms and was not available to the media.
However, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid indicated that Dempsey’s moves from MLS to England and back were probably the right moves for him at those stages of his career — and that there probably isn’t any single path that right for everyone.
“My perspective is every guy’s situation is different,” Schmid said. “For Landon Donovan, playing in a situation that he was comfortable in was very important to him playing well. So his situation is different. Somebody else — like when Dempsey went over there and spent five, six years over there — that’s what he needed. That was his drive, that was his ambition. So everybody’s situation is different.”
Schmid, who has coached both in MLS and within the national-team system, said the commissioner and the coach both make reasonable points that reflect sometimes conflicting priorities.
“Each side is seeking the best, which I mean by that is that each side is trying to make their particular situation the best possible,” Schmid said. “Klinsmann is trying to make the national team the best possible; Garber is trying to make MLS the best possible. And they’re each pushing from their direction. I don’t really have an issue with it. I think it’s good for soccer in this country that we’re talking about issues like this because, in the past, nobody cared.”
Schmid described Dempsey as “a little bit under the weather” and said he took it easy at training Friday. However, Schmid reported the rest of his team in good health heading into its Sunday showdown at Los Angeles, where the top position in MLS will be on the line. … Sounders FC announced that the second leg of its Western Conference semifinal playoff series will begin at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at CenturyLink Field. Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Monday. … The Sounders will train at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila on Saturday morning before flying to Southern California.