DeAndre Yedlin is back in Seattle. But nobody can promise how long.
The 20-year-old impressed many, even in a backup role, on the U.S. men’s national team at the World Cup. The peak of that attention came in the Round of 16 match against Belgium, when Yedlin came in for injured Fabian Johnson and played most of the game. Soon after returning to the states, Yedlin appeared on “SportsCenter,” “Good Morning America,” the “Today” Show and other programs.
Yedlin’s star power exploded. Now, according to a statement released by Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer, there is “lots of interest for him from leagues around the world.” La Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian newspaper, reported that a deal had been virtually finalized to send Yedlin to AS Roma after the Sounders’ season concluded.
Yedlin makes a base salary of $80,000 per year with guaranteed compensation of $92,000.
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But Yedlin said all the questions of where he’ll end up aren’t ones he’s thinking about yet.
“I’m kind of letting my representatives take care of that right now, and they’ll obviously get back to me on that information,” he said at Monday’s practice, his first since returning to the country. “Right now I’m just focused on Seattle, focused on hopefully winning the MLS Cup and just looking to come back and do well.”
Yedlin, who grew up in Lake Forest Park and graduated from O’Dea High School, said playing in Europe had always been his goal. But his quick rise up the ranks, thanks to his World Cup performance, might have changed his trajectory. Where those changes might lead him is unknown.
“That’s obviously been my goal since I was a little kid, so that was a big one,” he said. “But now I think I almost have to make new goals and re-evaluate and see where I want to be in the next year, next six months.”
That re-evaluation process will include his “big support system” here in the U.S., including Sounders coach Sigi Schmid.
Schmid said while watching the U.S.-Belgium Round of 16 match the thought crossed his mind that Seattle might not be able to keep Yedlin for long.
With potential international opportunities swirling, Schmid said Yedlin will have to use his maturity and his trusted network to make a decision.
“I told him, he’s got to talk to people that he trusts, feels comfortable with, and get the information that he needs to make a decision,” Schmid said. “But right now, his focus is on our game Wednesday and on our game Sunday.”
Yedlin’s agent, Chris Megaloudis, also noted that the player was still a Sounder, but there was a window for that to change in the future.
“There is plenty of interest in DeAndre from around the world at this time,” he said in an email message. “Should an opportunity arise that makes sense for the league/club and DeAndre, we will explore it further.”
Whether those explorations are now, or years in the future, Schmid said that once a player hits a certain talent level, sometimes opportunities overseas are simply better.
“It’s like, why does Pau Gasol play in the NBA? Why does (Manu) Ginobili play in the NBA?” he said. “Because the league (NBA) is better than their leagues in their home countries. There’s going to be certain players where it’s the right thing to do, is to go overseas.”