TUKWILA, Wash. — The last six months have been a bit of a whirlwind for rookie fullback DeAndre Yedlin.
In that time, the 20-year-old has become the Seattle Sounders’ first-ever Homegrown player, established himself as one of MLS’ youngest starters, represented the United States in the U-20 World Cup and, most recently, been named to the MLS All-Star team to take on AS Roma in Kansas City later this month. In doing so, he becomes just the second Homegrown player to ever be named to the gameday All-Star roster and the first rookie to earn that honor since Michael Parkhurst in 2005.
Yedlin was one of two players hand-picked by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, joining New York Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill.
“I never really expected any of this,” Yedlin said on Monday just a few minutes after learning of the news. “Of course I wanted it, but I never expected it. To come in and be able to make the strides that I made, eventually to achieving a spot on the all-star team it’s humbling and amazing.”
Yedlin seems to be taking all of this in stride, especially considering it wasn’t so long ago he was contemplating which classes to take heading into the second semester of his sophomore year at Akron.
When the Sounders originally signed him, the expectation was that Yedlin would play more of an apprentice role while learning about life as a professional soccer player. But he played well enough in preseason to make Swedish international Adam Johansson expendable and opened the season as a starter.
He hasn’t looked back since, starting every match in which he was available and fit.
For many players, having so many accolades come at such a young age might be cause for concern that his ego might get out of control.
That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Yedlin.
“I think he has a good head on his shoulders,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’ll keep himself in check.”
Yedlin echoes those sentiments, constantly talking about his desire to keep learning and improving. He’s also resisted the urge to flaunt his success, as he still drives the 2002 Subaru with more than 250,000 miles that he’s had since high school.
“I’m going to drive that car until the wheels fall off, save as much money as I can, be smart,” he said. “My parents taught me well.”
Of course, he also admits that his desire to improve goes for his ride as well.
“Maybe in a year or so I’ll have a new car,” he said.