In the fall, McKennie broke into the Schalke 04 midfield and made his U.S. debut, starting -- and scoring -- in the 1-1 tie with Portugal.
McKennie, who played in 13 of 17 Bundesliga games and stayed in the starting lineup after two particularly bad games, played at center back in the second half of Schalke's 2-1 win over Belgium's Genk in a friendly on Sunday.
"We've been wanting to try him out in central defencs for a while," Tedesco said. "He's good in the air, strong and up for anything."
McKennie, 19, arrived from the FC Dallas academy in the summer of 2016.