DeAndre Yedlin

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Casual fans are fans, but they are less important fans, so it's not retarded. Someone who shrugs and says ManU is their favorite team is not on equal footing with someone who watches broadcasts and streams of every match (and probably some other teams' matches), buys kits, scarves, refrigerator magnets, and even the occasional plane and match ticket.

What about waiting 2 hours in line at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles......


Montana. Spurs Country.
Yedlin is better by simple default purposes since Naughton is a Championship right back at best.

At best? Come on dude, give the guy more credit than that. He would be leaps and bounds better than some of the RB's at the bottom of the table and you're suggesting that he should probably be playing in League One. That's a pretty hyperbolic statement.
Do you think Yedlin's future is at fullback, midfield or elsewhere?

In my opinion his future is at fullback, as much because of his weaknesses as his strengths. As everyone had seen, DeAndre has world class speed but he often struggles in applying that in the attack. His touch is not great, and he doesn't have a good cut back inside when making full speed runs with the ball down the sideline. He rarely shoots, so i can't evaluate that well, but he has a handful of goals to his name. Putting him in a wide midfield position for 90 minutes at a time would not be the best use of his talents, but for short periods off the bench (like in USA vs Portugal) he can provide a great spark from that role. Over the course of this season, we have seen DeAndre improve in knowing how/when to use his speed in the attack from his RB position. Early in the season, I was often frustrated with his defensive positioning as he was overlapping constantly and we were more vulnerable to counter-attacks. His recovery speed is phenomenal in these situations, but often not enough once a break has started. As the season progressed (starting around the time of the world cup) I've noticed these overlapping runs have been more situational. I think part of this came from working with the USMNT and part from gaining familiarity and better role definition in his club play.

We've all seen (at least a vine of) his ridiculous speed, but how is his delivery?

I have not been impressed by his aerial delivery at any point in his career, it is inconsistent at best. His biggest threat is making cuts inside along the end line or the top of the 18 and playing crosses on the ground. He can be very dangerous in this way as he's able to beat most opposing LMs for pace and force a help defender to come across, opening up space in the middle for these balls.

Is he stout defensively or is that something he's going to need to develop?

If you asked me this a year ago, I'd have said he's poor. In that time, I think his defensive footwork have improved greatly, taking him from a defender with speed as his only asset to a capable defender with greater potential. Watch some highlights of him defending Eden Hazzard in the USA vs Belgium game to see what I mean. He is able to force him to stay wide and limits the cut backs to the inside. For a defender of his size, he also has a good aerial presence on long balls and on crosses. He has occasionally struggled keeping with his mark on set pieces, especially when on the far post and his mark moves to the middle of the goal or near post. Needs to improve at fighting through traffic in these situations.

Finally, not sure how much Premier League football you watch, but do you have any feeling if we could expect Yedlin to be able to step in right away, or is he looking at a loan initially? Thanks again for your insight.

I don't watch a lot of EPL, but do watch UCL frequently. I think he could step in to a role immediately. He has shown a great dedication to improvement in technique over the past 2 years as a starter here. He's a physical specimen and athletically he can compete anywhere in the world. I think that playing on a bigger stage is what he needs to continue that development, more time at a lower level (championship or other lower level europeqn league) may not be any more valuable than the experience he's gained here in seattle. At this point in his career, DeAndre needs to be challenged. We threw him in the fire at age 19, after signing him to a professional contact (he spent 1 year in college after our academy, we'll save the discussion of the American development system for a pub with pints) and he earned the starting job over a player we really liked. We had such confidence early in 2013 that we actually released the other player and DeAndre has been the full time starter since then. If you throw him into the fire of the EPL, I believe he'll make the most of that opportunity and you'll be pleasantly rewarded.
Hey spurs, I'm part of the Emerald City Supporters and proudly support DeAndre and the Sounders. My girlfriend and I are going to be in London over the holidays and would love to meet up with any of you before the game on December 28th for a pint and to talk about your new player! We're still looking for match tickets, but hope to find some soon so we can know for sure we'll be at the match!

In the meantime, post any questions you have about DeAndre here and I'll do my best to answer. I've watched him since he was 18 in our academy and love what he brings to our team, sad to see him leave but excited for the opportunity for him!
TLDR Yadda yadda...

When DeAndre Yedlin was 16, he wrote down his three biggest soccer goals and posted them in the kitchen of his family's Lake Forest Park home.

The first was "Play in Europe." Then "Become a 'Pro' (on and off the field)" and finally "Become accustomed to European Culture." No kid from Seattle had ever reached Europe's top professional ranks, but Yedlin, returning from a summer tour of Belgium, Austria, Italy and Germany with a youth elite team, was smitten by soccer overseas and vowed he'd get there.

"We played some pretty good adult teams and we did all right," Yedlin said. "I think that's ultimately what gave me the confidence I could hold my own. Even over there, where soccer means everything."

After making a surprise World Cup debut with Team USA in Brazil, the Sounders defender last month fulfilled his top goal, when Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League agreed to a $4 million transfer fee with the Sounders. Yedlin, 21, will finish this Major League Soccer (MLS) season before joining Spurs before their 2015-16 season.

Yedlin is largely unfazed by his overnight transition into the most-celebrated homegrown pro athlete playing in Seattle; appearing on "Good Morning America," on billboards and even as grand marshal of this summer's Torchlight Parade. Keeping Yedlin grounded is his knowledge about who most helped get him here; the largely untold story of how he came to live at the Lake Forest Park home where he dared to dream big.

It's the tale of a father he has never met, jailed two weeks before Yedlin was born and later imprisoned for life. And a mother, also in and out of jail, who initially raised him before his grandparents, Ira Yedlin and Vicki Walton, sought permanent custody when DeAndre was 19 months old.

Yedlin's grandparents treated him like a son and provided stability. His mother rebounded years later and re-entered Yedlin's life, forging a close relationship where they openly discuss mistakes, regrets and mutual optimism for their future.

But Yedlin realizes others have already made the biggest sacrifices on his behalf. He gets the easy part: fulfilling the destiny they made possible.

"I want people to know about my story and where I came from," he said.


It begins in 1991 with his mother, Rebecca Yedlin, being introduced at 16 to her first serious boyfriend, a man five years older named Larry Morris Rivers. By 17, she was living with Rivers and his family, and at 18, she was pregnant with DeAndre.

Rivers had been jailed on multiple assault and robbery charges in the 1980s, including for nearly beating a man to death.

"I'd gotten involved with his father, who was obviously not a good person," Rebecca Yedlin said. "He was involved with the criminal side of the law. And I was very young, very naive and so a lot of that influenced me to go in that same direction."

She wound up leaving Rivers while pregnant. Rivers was arrested in June 1993 for distributing cocaine in downtown Seattle and sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Two weeks after the arrest, Rebecca Yedlin gave birth to their son.

She was on her own, unable to work while caring for DeAndre. Within a month, she was arrested for writing checks off a closed account to pay for items at several Bellevue department stores - intending to quickly return them elsewhere for cash refunds.

She pleaded guilty to unlawfully issuing checks and served jail time in the summer of 1994.

After the arrest, she'd accepted an offer from her father and stepmother and moved into their home with DeAndre. But while awaiting sentencing in the checks case, she made her only visit to Rivers in jail, with DeAndre in tow. She planned to smuggle Rivers marijuana in DeAndre's diaper bag, but got cold feet and stashed it in a jailhouse storage locker before going through security.

A guard dog sniffed traces of it on her, and a locker search led to an arrest for importing contraband.

She severed contact with Rivers for good after that, but legal woes from both cases consumed most of 1994 and 1995. She'd moved back out on her own during this time, but would often leave DeAndre with his grandparents, who worried about his well-being.

In February 1995, they filed for and received permanent custody.


Ira Yedlin already had Rebecca and an adult son from his first marriage, while Vicki Walton had three adult daughters from hers. They were also raising a 10-year-old son, Dylan Walton-Yedlin, they'd had together.

Adding yet another child wasn't something they'd envisioned.

"When Dylan graduated from high school, I can remember other parents talking about how they're going to do a lot of travel now that their kid was going away to college," Walton said. "And I was like, 'We have a 9-year-old.' But we're really glad we raised him. He's certainly added something to our family that we never would have had."

DeAndre's uncle Dylan was nine years older, but was thrilled about gaining the equivalent of a kid brother. Dylan, an avid athlete, taught DeAndre by age 2 to kick a soccer ball and shoot hoops.

His grandparents signed DeAndre up for soccer at age 4 and when his Under-5 team, the Fireballs, needed a coach, his grandfather and Dylan took over. When Dylan taught soccer at youth summer camps, DeAndre would tag along to kick balls on the side or run drills with boys twice his age.

"He has an innate sense of the game," Dylan said. "He would just dribble past everybody on his U-5 team and then he would pass to the other person standing next to the goal so they could score. Most kids who are dribbling through everybody, they're the ones who want the shot, the glory. But he was never like that."

Yedlin said his uncle, now a bond trader in Boston, remains his biggest influence and closest friend. He'd take Yedlin everywhere; even to older friends' houses for sleepovers and marathon Halo video-game sessions.

"I did literally everything they did," Yedlin said. "I'd go out to dinner with them."

One of those older friends, Nolan Myer, is now the Sounders' equipment manager.

"I didn't have a little brother and he was like a little brother to all of us," Myer said.

The older group's maturity rubbed off on DeAndre. He'd join playground pickup games with kids he didn't know, but avoid dominating so they didn't feel bad.

His grandparents taught him to shake the referee's hand after games, and soon his entire team did it. They also preached that no matter how good he was at sports, there would always be somebody better.

"I think one of the biggest things is I wasn't spoiled as a kid," Yedlin said. "I got what I needed. I didn't always get what I wanted. But it's good to have what you need."

After Dylan left to play small-college football at Union College in upstate New York, he phoned his mother one night in tears over "abandoning" DeAndre, then age 10.

"It's OK, you're 19," she told him. "You didn't abandon him. You get to go to college."


By then, DeAndre's mother had been reintroduced into his life.

Rebecca Yedlin had given birth to a daughter, Jenea, when DeAndre was 3. She was again a single mother, but this time working as a dispatcher at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

"I had my own apartment," she said. "I was in no other trouble. I'd really gotten myself back on track."

DeAndre met his new sister right away. The distance from his mother's Renton apartment to Lake Forest Park initially limited visits to alternating weekends, but they increased once DeAndre was 6.

In 2002, Yedlin's mother sought a two-year teaching degree, followed by a degree at The Evergreen State College. In 2012, she completed an online master's degree in adult education.

She teaches business technology and medical office technology at South Seattle College, where she has worked the past eight years. But her first teaching job, in 2004, was with inmates at the Kent jail.

The subject: life skills.

"Talk about making a 360," she says. "It was pretty redeeming."

Yedlin's father, meanwhile, was arrested in 2003 for abducting an elderly Cambodian immigrant in his car, robbing him at gunpoint and pistol-whipping him when he tried to escape. After his conviction for robbery and kidnapping, Rivers was imprisoned for life as a habitual offender.

Yedlin's grandparents, who have never met Rivers, tried to make fatherless life seem normal. But DeAndre drew curious looks from people wondering how his darker skin and Afro fit in with the white family.

A few months ago, Rivers' sister contacted DeAndre for the first time. He saw photos of his father and found their resemblance striking. But Yedlin isn't ready to meet Rivers. He's more eager to learn about his mother's experiences.

"As I got older, I got a better relationship with her," he said. "I think they did a very good job of slowly re-entering me back into her life without it being too much. Especially as a kid, it can be confusing going into somebody else's life when they weren't always in yours when you were very young."

Yedlin never called his grandmother "Mom," though she often played the part. When her husband took a job in Phoenix, Walton remained behind with Yedlin his senior year at O'Dea High School so his soccer wouldn't be disrupted.

"I always call him my kid because 'grandson' sounds so far removed," Walton said.


Yedlin had rocketed through Seattle's elite club-soccer programs before joining the Sounders youth academy for the 2010-11 season. He'd gotten his summer taste of Europe in 2009 with a program called SuperElite, before his junior year of high school.

"One of the biggest fallacies in soccer is that Americans are not as good as the rest of the world," says Jon Spencer, who ran SuperElite when Yedlin attended. "That's nonsense. It's all about development. Gaining exposure and the attitude, you can compete with the best."

Yedlin glimpsed his potential that year when his team of 16- and 17-year-olds held their own against pro teams, such as a draw against a "Serie B" squad from Italy.

"In his case, he tasted it, he witnessed it, then he went home and wrote down his goals," Spencer said. "And then he set out to achieve them."

Yedlin ignored bigger schools to play at University of Akron, known for producing pro-ready soccer players.

"It would get him where he wanted to go," his grandmother said.

Yedlin was twice all-conference at Akron, where he met his girlfriend. He then signed with the Sounders and wasn't expected to play much, but replaced injured right back Adam Johansson and became an 2013 MLS all-star his first season.

His uncle said East Coast clients now see his name and ask whether he's related to "that soccer player from the World Cup."

"Every choice he's made from youth soccer up to signing with the Sounders, it ended up being the right choice," his uncle says. "But he's certainly had some luck along the way."


Yedlin feels fortunate, figuring he'd never have become a soccer player without the custody intervention. He reflects on that when things get crazy.

"It's one of those things where you have to realize what you're getting stressed about, take a step back and then it's all good," he said.

His grandparents, now retired in Arizona, were in Brazil for his World Cup debut this summer. They also joined him, Dylan and Rebecca in Portland, Ore., for the recent MLS All-Star Game.

It was a tense time, given the ongoing Tottenham negotiations. Yedlin had to abruptly fly to England, which he senses was hardest on his grandparents and uncle.

"It's an adjustment because they've always been there to help every decision," Yedlin said.

Yedlin will leave those closest to him at a time the family's bonds are stronger than ever. His mother and grandparents have smoothed over years of strained relations stemming partly from their custody bid. Now she's glad she yielded without a legal fight.

"Honestly, had I raised him he never would have been a professional soccer player," she said. "So, I think it was the best thing for him. I'm glad I was able to think about him and not just myself."

Yedlin marvels at how his mother "put her life completely back together" and raised his nearly-adult sister, who "in terms of school and things like that, really knows what she wants."

After the Torchlight Parade, Yedlin dined with his mother and girlfriend. A casual chat among the three of them soon became a one-on-one between mother and son - something that once seemed as improbable as a Seattle soccer player making it overseas.

"It's been really nice to hang out and get to know her on an adult level," Yedlin said. "She can share things with me that she couldn't when I was a little bit younger.

"We've both got our lives going the way we'd always hoped."

And now, he gets to take it from here.


Raw Ill give it to ya no trivia. Okay, some trivia
I have no clue if Yedlin will be good for Spurs or not but I'm 100% sure that if he actually was Latvian instead of American this thread would be a lot more positive.


Raw Ill give it to ya no trivia. Okay, some trivia
Pochettino sculpted £46m worth of fullbacks at Southampton and the best one is still at the club. I'm excited to see what he can do with a player of Yedlin's natural ability.


Just Do It
Btw, if anyone is curious how fast Yedlin is ...

Allegedly, he runs 100 meters in 10.1 seconds.
And to compare him with other speedsters (though not sure if these stats have changed):

- Walcott: 100m in 10.3s
- Ronaldo: 100m in 10.63s
- Agbonlahor: 100m in 10.98s
- Robben: 100m in 11.34s
- Bale 100m in 11.39s
- And just for fun, Usain Bolt: 100m in 9.58s
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