SEATTLE — One Seattle standout has already taken the stage during MLS All-Star week.
That was local chart-topper Macklemore, who helped kick off festivities with a concert Monday night in Kansas City — wearing a Sounders FC jersey, of course.
But yet another breakout star is ready to represent his hometown. Rookie defender DeAndre Yedlin will be in uniform for the MLS All-Stars in today’s 6 p.m. exhibition against storied Italian club AS Roma.
“It’s amazing,” said Yedlin, a 20-year-old Seattle native. “Growing up, you never think you’ll get the chance to play against a top team in the world, and now that chance has come. It’s pretty incredible.”
It has been six months of incredible since Yedlin signed as the Sounders’ first homegrown player out of the youth development program, and the rise from young prospect to Day 1 starter to MLS All-Star — with the likes of Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry among others — has been followed leaguewide.
Commissioner Don Garber specifically named Yedlin to the All-Star team as a way to highlight homegrown talent across the league. Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, who will manage the All-Stars, added he might have picked the O’Dea High School product himself if the commissioner hadn’t.
Yedlin, Sounders FC’s lone representative today, is the first rookie to make the gameday lineup for the MLS All-Stars since 2005.
“He’s very, very athletic and he’s an exciting player,” All-Star teammate Matt Besler told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s got a great future.”
Some outsiders have Yedlin already pegged for a big move to Europe or even a starting role with the U.S. national team in the 2018 World Cup, but the emerging star has insisted motivation to keep improving won’t be an issue.
“Obviously I still have a long, long way to go,” Yedlin said. “There’s still a ton that I need to work on. I know I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I just have to keep pushing, stay humble and the rest will come.”
KLINSMANN PRAISES EJ: Sounders FC’s Eddie Johnson will rejoin the Sounders this week after helping the U.S. national team win the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The forward has scored five international goals since he returned to the USMNT in October, a resurgence that hasn’t been lost on coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“We got Eddie into this group and suddenly he’s right on focus and he’s ready to deliver to the group,” Klinsmann said on the federation website. “Not only scoring a goal, but to make those runs and hold the ball, to occupy the opponent’s defense and do a lot of work. He’s done a tremendous job.”
Klinsmann added he hopes to see consistency from Johnson with the Sounders before being called back for World Cup qualifiers in September.
NOTE: Reign FC star Megan Rapinoe has been named NWSL Player of the Week for her two-goal, one-assist performance in a 4-1 win against the Chicago Red Stars.