A year that has exceeded DeAndre Yedlin’s expectations keeps getting better.
After being signed as Sounders FC’s first homegrown player in January, moving into the starting lineup in March, and playing for the United States U-23 World Cup team in June, Yedlin on Monday was named as Seattle’s lone representative on the Major League Soccer All-Star team.
“I never really expected any of this,” Yedlin said shortly after learning he was one of commissioner Don Garber’s two All-Star selections. “Of course I wanted it, but I never really expected it. So to come in and be able to make the strides that I’ve made and obviously eventually achieving a spot on the All-Star team, it’s amazing and it’s humbling.”
Yedlin, 20, attended O’Dea High School in Seattle and the University of Akron, participated in the Sounders FC Academy program and played for Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 before being signed as Sounders FC’s first homegrown player at age 19. (“Homegrown player” is a specific MLS designation that applies to a player signing his first professional contract with an MLS club if he has trained for at least one year in that club’s youth-development program and meets other criteria.)
Yedlin has started 13 of Seattle’s 17 regular-season matches and is fifth on the club with 1,180 minutes played. He became the youngest Sounder to play a complete game and to record an assist.
He is the first rookie named to the All-Star team since New England’s Michael Parkhurst in 2005 and the first homegrown player named to the team since New York’s Juan Agudelo in 2011.
“The commissioner made what I think is a great selection,” said All-Star coach Peter Vermes of Sporting Kansas City. “All of our teams in the league at the moment have done a tremendous job to this point since we’re in the infancy stages of our academies. And for Seattle to produce a player like Yedlin is just fantastic. He is somebody that I actually considered just picking without even speaking to the commissioner. But when he talked about him, I thought he was a great choice as well.”
The MLS All-Stars will meet Italy’s AS Roma at 6 p.m. July 31 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Also named to the All-Star team were goalkeepers Raul Fernndez (Dallas) and Nick Rimando (Salt Lake); defenders Corey Ashe (Houston), Matt Besler (Kansas City), Tony Beltran (Salt Lake), Aurélien Collin (Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles); midfielders Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Patrice Bernier (Montreal), Tim Cahill (New York), Brad Davis (Houston), Will Johnson (Portland), Mike Magee (Chicago), Graham Zusi (Kansas City), and forwards Marco Di Vaio (Montreal), Thierry Henry (New York), Robbie Keane (Los Angeles), Camilo (Vancouver) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).
“It’s a great honor for (Yedlin),” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s been a long time since a rookie made the All-Star team, and I guess he’s the second homegrown to have ever made the All-Star team. So from that standpoint it’s a tremendous honor for him and for our organization.”
Starting goalkeeper Michael Gspurning will see a hand specialist Tuesday regarding the forearm injury that forced him out of the Sounders’ 1-0 loss at San Jose over the weekend. Schmid indicated he and defender Djimi Traore (hamstring) are unlikely to be available Saturday when the Colorado Rapids visit CenturyLink Field.
Brad Evans (ribs) was sore Monday, but reported feeling better as training went along. His prognosis awaits the results of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam.
Schmid said the Obafemi Martins (calf) trained Monday, is expected to do more Tuesday, and could return to action Saturday.
Yedlin and Sounders forward David Estrada will share health tips at a family-fitness event held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Al Davies Tacoma Boys and Girls Club, 1620 S. 17th St. Those attending are asked to register in advance. Vancouver forward Camilo was voted MLS player of the week after scoring two goals in the Whitecaps’ 3-1 win over Chicago.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt