When DeAndre Yedlin was signed in January as Seattle's first Homegrown Player, Sporting Director Chris Henderson touted the 20-year-old defender as a top-three SuperDraft pick had he been available.
Just 24 games into his professional career, Yedlin has already been recognized as an All-Star, been among the top players on the U.S. U-20 National Team at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup and became one of the most consistent contributors on a Sounders FC team that has risen to the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings. On Friday, he added more accolades to the list when he was ranked No. 3 on MLSsoccer.com’s list of the top 24 players under 24 years old.
“It’s definitely a huge honor,” Yedlin said. “Just to be compared to some of the players on that list is pretty incredible.”
Ranked behind only Portland’s Darlington Nagbe and Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gil, Yedlin is in elite company. Philadelphia forward Jack McInerney and New England forward Diego Fagundez round out the top five.
Yedlin is the highest-ranked defender since LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was ranked second in the 2010 rankings. He is also among three defenders in the top 10 this season, with Philadelphia’s Amobi Okugo and New England’s Andrew Farrell not far behind at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively.
He joined Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani as Seattle’s only players to be featured in the top five of the “24 Under 24” feature, with Zakuani finishing fourth in 2010 and 2011 while Montero was in the top spot in 2010.
“It’s great company for DeAndre to have,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “If you had gone back to January and somebody asked you to predict the list, I don’t know if DeAndre is even on the list. He’s done well for himself. He’s drawn attention to himself and I think it’s a great accomplishment for him.”
The Seattle native has one goal and two assists in 24 appearances while helping Seattle to the best defense in the Western Conference and second-best in MLS with a 1.00 goals against average.
However, no accolades this season can satisfy Yedlin as he works to help Sounders FC down the final stretch of his first season.
“I’m excited about it, but it doesn’t stop there,” he said. “I always want to be number one and that’s what I’m pushing for.”