Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
DeAndre Yedlin: From ballboy to star (When They Were Children)
by Mike Woitalla, March 8th, 2014 1:05AM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, seattle sounders, youth boys

MOST COMMENTED

With MLS's 19th season kicking off this weekend, the Youth Soccer Insider's "When They Were Children" series is looking back at the formative years of some of the league's brightest stars, such as the Seattle kid who now starts on the team for which he used to fetch balls.

By Mike Woitalla

Rarely does a professional athlete have such close ties to his club as DeAndre Yedlin does to the Seattle Sounders.

When the Sounders still played in the USL, Yedlin served as a ballboy. When they became an MLS team, Yeldin attended games at Qwest Field and cheered them on.

When they launched an academy program, he became a youth Sounder. He hung out with Seattle star Fredy Montero, who stayed at the house of a mutual friend, a Colombian like Montero. In between his two college seasons at Akron he played for the Sounders’ USL PDL U-23 team.

Yedlin was raised by his grandparents, Ira Yedlin and Vicki Walton, and became enchanted with soccer thanks to their son, his uncle, Dylan Walton-Yedlin, who is 9 years older.

“I was always on the sidelines of my uncle’s soccer games with Emerald City kicking the ball around and watching the games,” Yedlin says. “He was an older brother/father figure for me.”

His grandmother signed him up for a team as soon as he was old enough.

Dylan, says DeAndre, grew out of his soccer body and became a football star, a two-time All-American at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. DeAndre played for Emerald City and Northwest Nationals before joining Crossfire’s Academy team. When its coach, Sean Henderson, brother of Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson, moved the team to the Sounders, Yedlin came along.

When at age 12 he got invited to ODP camps Yedlin started believing he might have a chance to go far in soccer, although he still tried other sports, including wrestling and football in his freshman year of high school.

“It was the first time and the last time,” he says. “I was a 103-pound running back and corner back.”

Yedlin, now 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, ran track and competed in the long jump in high school, but quickly figured out soccer was his “love.”

He played sweeper, forward, outside midfield and central midfield, and admired Cristiano Ronaldo.

“And I liked Dani Alves,” he said. “When I moved to right back I tried to play like him. … Playing those different positions definitely helped prepare me for the pros because I had to analyze different parts of the field.”

A big highlight of his youth career was at age 14 when his team vied to win State Cup with extra motivation because the regionals would be in Hawaii. They succeeded. "That was great," he said.

Last year, at age 19, Yedlin became the club’s first “homegrown” signing. In the opening game of the season, in front of 39,000 fans, he started and went the full 90 minutes. In his first year as a pro, Yedlin played 37 games in all competitions and he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. Last month he made his U.S. national team debut.

Previous editions of the Youth Soccer Insider’s “When They Were Children” series:
Diego Fagundez & Mike Magee

MLS 2014 SuperDraft Picks: Andre Blake, Steve Birnbaum, Christian Dean, Steve Neumann, Eric Miller, Damion Lowe.
Clint Dempsey
Neven Subotic
Kristine Lilly
Darlington Nagbe, Sean Johnson, Nick Rimando, Luis Silva, Juan Agudelo
Michael Bradley
Chris Wondolowski
Hope Solo
Jurgen Klinsmann
Mario Balotelli & Philipp Lahm
Nani & David Silva
Cristiano Ronaldo & Danny Welbeck
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andres Iniesta & Andriy Shevchenko
Didier Drogba
Lionel Messi
U.S. Women World Cup 2011 (Alex Morgan & Co.)
Ronaldinho
Logan Pause, David Ferreira, Fredy Montero, Dwayne De Rosario, CJ Sapong, Perry Kitchen, Tim Ream


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Girls Development Academy taking shape: First 25 clubs accepted    
Twenty-five clubs have been accepted so far by U.S. Soccer to compete in the Girls U.S. ...
Is it OK to take pain medicine in order to continue playing?    
Several factors cause athletes of all levels to continue to play through pain: the warrior mentality, ...
California clubs shine at Development Academy playoffs    
FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake-Arizona were the only clubs to qualify for the U.S. Soccer ...
Tips for attending a college ID camp    
With summer being a popular time for young players to attend College ID camps, we've asked ...
Gottschee and FC Dallas take No. 1 seeds into Development Academy playoffs    
FC Dallas and BW Gottschee of Queens, New York, are the No. 1 seeds in the ...
Teen stars sign with MLS clubs    
In the wake of Atlanta United, set to begin MLS play in 2017, signing 15-year-old Andrew ...
How refs deal with trash-talking    
"Look at the scoreboard" and "You got nothing" are two common things that trash-talking players say.
Does American soccer really only work for white kids?    
Les Carpenter's article for the London-based Guardian on American youth soccer is headlined: "'It's only working ...
Changing the Canvas: Finding Inspiration Outside of our Beautiful Game    
My wife is a developmental psychologist. For two decades she has been studying children and the ...
'Toughest World Cup yet' awaits U.S. U-17 girls    
The USA will face Paraguay, Ghana and defending champion Japan in the first round of 2016 ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives