It had been 16 months since the last time DeAndre Yedlin was called in to the U.S. U-20 National Team.
He made sure that his return was worth the wait as last week he was back in the youth national team picture at camp with Tab Ramos’ side as they prepare for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey in June and July.
“It was good. It’s definitely good to be back in the rotation and see all the guys that you missed from the last camps, and see former teammates,” he said on Monday after returning to Sounders FC training. “It was just good to get back in the lineup and represent your country. It’s a good feeling.”
Yedlin’s time with the Sounders FC first team has done wonders, he said, to prepare him for the high level of competition on the international level. The Sounders FC Academy product played for two seasons at Akron before signing with the Sounders as the club’s first-ever Homegrown Player.
There, he has played with a defensive core with wide-ranging experiences who have all been able to help him develop on the field.
“It’s prepared me a ton. Playing with these players, a lot of these players have had this experience before having been to a youth World Cup or a World Cup, so they’ve talked to me about what the experience is like,” he said. “It’s definitely helped me.”
Yedlin was among six current MLS players at the 23-man camp in Carson, Calif. He was also joined by eight college players, two from Europe, three from Mexico and one playing professionally in Honduras. The last three spots were filled by current MLS Academy players, including Sounders FC U-18 Academy forward Jordan Morris.
The week included an intrasquad scrimmage on Wednesday and a scrimmage against Cal FC on Sunday to conclude the camp.
Yedlin last appeared with the U-20s after his standout freshman season at Akron, where he was All-MAC first team and a Freshman All-American. Admittedly less sharp than he should have been in that camp, he was not called back as the team went through the World Cup qualifying last summer.
He earned the call back to the U.S. U-20 team after impressing in his first six matches in MLS, playing every minute for the Sounders FC to start the season while also playing in three of the team’s four CONCACAF Champions League matches against Tigres and Santos Laguna, allowing an average of one goal per game in his three matches against two of the top teams in Mexico’s Liga MX.
He got put right back in with the first team and now is hopeful for a call to the U-20 World Cup roster.
“It’s hard work to get back into it, especially after you don’t have a very good camp and the coach is kind of skeptical of you,” Yedlin said. “So to get back into it was great for me. Hopefully I can carry that into the World Cup.”
The U-20 World Cup starts June 21 in Turkey, with the U.S. drawing Group A with France, Spain and Ghana. They will need to finish in the top two of that group to be assured of a spot in the knockout round.