On any short list of potential HomeGrown Player signings by Seattle Sounders FC DeAndre Yedlin was at the top. The fleet right back was a standout at Akron, with the Sounders U23s, with the Sounders Academy and at O'Dea High School as well. He is the Sounders first ever signing from their Academy and will compete to be depth at right back.
Yedlin knows that Seattle likes its backs to get forward. "Johansson and the right side seem to get up a lot," He said via team release, "and as many people know I like to attack a lot. Just the whole attacking mindset will help me to succeed with Seattle."
"We are thrilled to sign DeAndre as our first Homegrown Player," said Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer in the team release. "Darren Sawatzky and Dick McCormick deserve much of the credit, as they have developed a top academy program for Sounders FC. Hopefully DeAndre is the first of many local players who will come through our system and wear the rave green at the professional level."
That Academy has a few other players who could sign HGP deals, but Yedlin is the first. He first got inclination that he was being targeted in October and the deal was worked out over the holidays. The opportunity to play in front of his hometown fans while also becoming a professional excites the young defender.
"It’s amazing to start my professional career in a place where I started playing soccer in the first place. I think that’s the main thing for me. That’s why I think I’m so excited; just to be able to perform in front of all the fans. It’s the best place to play in the United States—one of the best in the world I think. It’s very exciting for me."
Yedlin is fast, a strong short to medium passer and loves to charge up the flank. If there are questions about his ability to transition to MLS the biggest would be judging when to time those runs so that he is not caught out of position. His defense has improved over the two years at Akron. His coach that helped him develop in college is now his greatest rival down in Portland.
As a HomeGrown Player his contract will not count against the salary cap, but he does count towards the total roster.
He just tweeted the following
Thank you all for the support and congratulations!I feel honored and blessed to have this opportunity. Time to make Seattle proud. #EBFG— DeAndre Yedlin (@yedlinny) January 11, 2013