Inter Miami's DeAndre Yedlin aims for "warm welcome" in Seattle return

Just seven games into his second MLS chapter, Inter Miami CF defender DeAndre Yedlin is heading home.

That chance comes Saturday evening when visiting Seattle Sounders FC for a nationally-televised match at Lumen Field (10 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes), the same venue where his professional career began.

The 28-year-old US men’s national team fullback originally signed with Seattle ahead of the 2013 MLS season, becoming the Rave Green’s first homegrown player and enjoying a rapid rise in his native Washington.

“The return to Seattle is going to be amazing,” said Yedlin, who signed via the Allocation Order in early February. “I’m going to have most of my family there, my daughter’s going to be able to be in Seattle for the first time. That will be nice. Just to be able to be back in the stadium and where I grew up will be a good feeling.”

DeAndre Yedlin Miami
DeAndre Yedlin plays right back or right wingback for Inter Miami CF.

Yedlin’s ascendency in MLS prompted a transfer to the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur, starting a journey in Europe that concluded over the winter at Turkey’s Galatasaray. In between, other stops included Sunderland and Newcastle United in England.

But Yedlin’s origin story is undoubtedly traced back to the Seattle area, with Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer an assistant coach during his time at the club. That leaves him intimately familiar with the club’s core identity, even though it’s nearly been a decade since he became a two-time MLS All-Star there.

“One thing I know about them and it’s been true throughout all the years and is that they’re a very honest team,” Yedlin said. “It’s a team full of workers, then you add the talent that they have and it makes them a very, very good team. That’s why they’re challenging for titles every year. It'll be a difficult game, especially playing away and playing on turf.”

That admiration was echoed by Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville, who has turned to Yedlin as a steadying veteran presence in their new-look backline and youth-filled squad. That sentiment stretches back to the Englishman’s own playing days, from when he was a defender at Premier League sides Manchester United and Everton.

“Seattle away is one where from the outside, before I entered MLS, they were always the standard-bearer,” Neville said. “When we used to come on preseason tours, Seattle were the team that most Premier League teams wanted to play. Why? Because they were the best with Freddie Ljungberg in the team and et cetera.”

Yedlin Seattle
DeAndre Yedlin played college soccer at Akron University before signing with Seattle.

That only reinforces the challenge Inter Miami face upon Yedlin’s return to the Pacific Northwest, with the Sounders fresh off reaching the Concacaf Champions League Final with a 4-2 aggregate win over New York City FC midweek. They’re also undefeated in three straight league games, improving form as key players get healthy.

Inter Miami have confidence from last weekend’s 3-2 win over reigning Supporters’ Shield winners New England Revolution, but Yedlin cautioned that only goes so far after snapping a five-game, season-opening winless streak.

“That was really important for this group, but it’s also a situation where you go to keep your lows high and your highs low,” Yedlin said. “We don’t want to get too up on this because we do still have to realize what position we’re in in the table.”

As for the personal element this weekend? Yedlin hopes his former club receives him with open arms.

“I hope it’s a warm welcome,” he said with a laugh. “I think it will be, but we’ll see.”