Fresh off a round of national media interviews in New York and with rumors swirling that a transfer to a big European club could be imminent, DeAndre Yedlin was back at Seattle Sounders training on Monday. While he's quite aware that a standout performance in the World Cup has raised his profile to new heights, the soon-to-be-21-year-old is making sure he keeps his head in the here and now.
"I'm letting my reps take care of that and they'll get back to me on that information," Yedlin said about the rumors in particular. "Right now I'm just focused on Seattle, focused on hopefully winning MLS Cup and just looking to come back and do well."
When asked if that was a hard thing to do, Yedlin responded in a way that will surely make every Sounders fan swoon.
"I love this team," he said. "It's easy to focus on a team when you love them. It's very easy to do actually."
As much as Yedlin may love the Sounders, though, he's also clearly aware that certain opportunities are too good to pass up. And while no one gave any firm indications that such an offer is currently on the table, it doesn't appear as though the Sounders are particularly keen on standing in his way.
"You want to do what's good for the players and help them grow and advance," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "We're a club that wants to win, that wants to succeed. But I also think success is predicated on when you do what's best for the players, you're going to have success and players are going to want to play for you.
"You have to do what's right for the player and the player is always trying to play at the highest level they can play at."
Plus, putting players like Yedlin out into the world can be a net positive for the Sounders.
"Internationally, certainly name recognition for the club, there's a lot more clubs aware around the world of who the Seattle Sounders are and what we are," Schmid said. "I remember one guy calling me trying to sell his club as an option for one of our players and said ‘We're going to average 30,000 people a game.' And I said ‘Yeah, he's going to have to get used to 10,000 less than we have now.' He was kinda taken aback. I think that will help the awareness of our club as a whole and just that recognition factor for the league as well.
In the meantime, though, Yedlin is still a Sounders player and there appears to be a very good chance he'll at least finish out the season before making any moves.
Schmid doesn't seem particularly worried that keeping Yedlin focused on his current team will be very difficult.
"We talked yesterday for quite a bit," Schmid said. "DeAndre is DeAndre. He's got his feet pretty well on the ground. I know it's tough not to get carried away with things, but he's pretty down to earth and you just have to keep moving forward. As opportunities get presented to him, he needs to pick the opportunity that makes sense not the one everybody else thinks makes sense."