Seattle Sounders' DeAndre Yedlin locked in on MLS as European rumors mount: "I'm focusing on Seattle"

TUKWILA, Wash. -- It may not seem like it now, but it was just weeks ago that Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin was relatively unknown on the national stage.

Oh, how times change.

Originally considered by many to be a long shot to even make the US national team’s final World Cup roster, Yedlin made the most of his opportunity in Brazil, showcasing an impressive ability to hang with some of the best competition the world has to offer.

Since returning, Yedlin’s profile has exploded from an MLS up-and-comer into one that resembles a full-fledged celebrity. He did a brief tour of the national media circuit and reports have surfaced in recent days linking the speedy youngster to multiple overseas clubs, including AS Roma and Liverpool.

So, how is the 20-year-old handling his newfound notoriety? Just fine, if you ask Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid.

“DeAndre is DeAndre,” Schmid said after Seattle’s practice on Monday. “He’s got his feet pretty well on the ground, he’s pretty down to earth…I think the people who raised him have given him that guidance.”

Yedlin himself coolly downplayed any transfer rumors that are sure to continue in the coming weeks, saying he is focusing on the rest of the MLS season in Seattle.

“I’m letting my representatives take care of that,” Yedlin said following his first training session back with the Sounders. “Right now I’m just focusing on Seattle and hopefully winning the MLS cup.”

Yedlin also said that an offer from an overseas club doesn’t necessarily guarantee that he’ll make the switch, citing the increasing quality of MLS as a reason to stay in Seattle.

“MLS is such a growing league,” he said. “It’s becoming one of the top leagues in the world.”

When asked if Yedlin remaining in MLS would be better for the league, however, Schmid admitted that the lure of an opportunity to play overseas might be too much to resist.

“[Yedlin staying] is better for the league,” Schmid said. “But by the same token, why does Pau Gasol play in the NBA? Why does [Manu] Ginobli play in the NBA? Because the league’s better than the leagues in their home countries. And there’s going to be certain players where it’s the right thing to do to go overseas.”

For the moment, Yedlin remains in Seattle where his team is currently preparing for two major clashes. The Sounders battle the rival Portland Timbers twice this week, once in a US Open Cup showdown on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET, stream on USsoccer.com) and again on Saturday in an MLS matchup at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (7 pm ET, ESPN2).