As the Seattle Sounders prepare for their home test against the Portland Timbers this weekend, they were joined at Starfire Sports by a familiar face: former Sounder DeAndre Yedlin. Fresh off his club Newcastle United’s English Championship trophy and subsequent promotion to the English Premier League, Yedlin joined up with Seattle this week to keep his fitness up for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers with the US national team. “It’s been great,” Yedlin said, “Nice to see old faces and some new ones as well. Just being back out here brings back really good memories.”
Yedlin mentioned that Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer, who was an assistant to Sigi Schmid during Yedlin’s tenure, told him as soon as he got back to town that he was welcome at Starfire whenever he wanted. “It’s a great feeling knowing I always have a home here, it was my first club and it’s my favorite club. It’s my hometown club. Seattle will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Lots of things have changed since Yedlin’s initially departed for England after the 2014 season, most obviously last season’s epic MLS Cup run. Yedlin said he wished that he could have been a part of it as a player, but as a Seattle native and fan of the team he was happy to see them finally lift the trophy. “I’m proud of that team and everybody that was involved, and hopefully they can get another one this year.” He noted that he actually couldn’t watch live, thanks to the time difference in the UK, but he made sure to catch it as soon as possible.
Yedlin’s first stint in England with Tottenham Hotspur didn’t go quite as planned, but a strong performance on loan with Sunderland in the 2015-16 season earned him a transfer to the Black Cats’ rivals in the Championship. He said the move was exactly what he needed, both on and off the pitch. Yedlin even compared his new home to his hometown. “Newcastle isn’t too much different from Seattle, actually. I think that’s why I settled in so well there. It’s a little calmer than London is, there’s a little bit less to do so you can’t get into too much.” He identified the friendly, but passionate fans as something that made him feel right at home in Newcastle, along with the raucous atmosphere at St. James’ Park. “I’m very happy and fortunate to be there,” Yedlin said.
Though it wasn’t quite as turbulent as Seattle’s 2016 season, Newcastle had a bit of a rollercoaster early in this past season before dominating the Championship on their way to the title. “It was a wild one,” Yedlin said, “there were a lot of ups and downs.” He said the team was frustrated by a handful of losses, but between their many wins and a handful of lucky breaks, they went the distance and earned the silverware. “At the end of the day, people look back on it they don’t really remember the second place team that gets promoted, they remember the champions. It’s a great feeling and a great moment in history and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Yedlin is only supposed to train with the Sounders for a short time, but he said that he’ll definitely be attending the match against the Timbers this weekend. Having grown up in Seattle and played for the first team for two seasons, Yedlin was able to experience a handful of Cascadia clashes between the sides. His favorite? “Probably the game where we came back to draw them 4-4 in Portland. It felt like a win, just because with a lot of people hope is lost, but we came back and ended up getting a good result.”