9/22/2014

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Sports

Yedlin returns to Sounders, European interest rises

Yedlin returns to Sounders, European interest rises
United States' DeAndre Yedlin, left, challenges Belgium's Eden Hazard during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) - DeAndre Yedlin has rejoined the Seattle Sounders with a far higher profile than he had when the United State gathered for World Cup training camp nearly two months ago in Northern California.

After his impressive performance for the U.S. during three appearances in the World Cup, the question is just how long the Sounders will be able to hold on to their homegrown star.

Yedlin took part in training Monday and is expected to be available for both of Seattle's matches this week against rival Portland - first in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday and then in MLS play Sunday. His return to Seattle comes after a flurry of attention after the U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup by Belgium in the round of 16 and amid reports that a deal is already in place for Yedlin to make the move to Europe.

Yedlin did not comment directly on reports coming from Italy about a pending deal that would see the 20-year-old defender move to AS Roma in 2015 after completing this season with Seattle. Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer issued a statement saying if a deal with a foreign team is finalized the team will announce it.

"I'm kind of letting my representatives handle that right now," Yedlin said. "They'll obviously get back to me on that information but for right now I'm just focused on Seattle."

Seattle coach Sigi Schmid sounded almost resigned that eventually Yedlin will leave Seattle and get his shot at playing in one of the top leagues in the world.

"At the end of the day you want to do what is best for the players and help the players continue to grow and advance," Schmid said. "We're a club that wants to win and wants to succeed and I also think success is also predicated on when you do what is best for the players, you're going to have success."

Yedlin was a surprise selection by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the final 23-man roster that made the trip to Brazil. The roles Yedlin ended up playing were even more of a surprise. He came on as a late substitute playing in the midfield against Portugal and Germany in the group stage.

But it was his performance against Belgium that grabbed the spotlight. Coming on in the 32nd minute after defender Fabian Johnson was injured, Yedlin was a consistent offensive threat on the outside. But he also used his speed to remain solid on defense.

"It was a little nerve-wracking. I was obviously not really expecting that," Yedlin said. "But I think it helped I wasn't ready for it because I didn't have time to think, I just had to go on and play. It was good. Once I got comfortable I felt good, felt relaxed."
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