DeAndre Yedlin met with reporters following Wednesday’s 6-0 Open Cup win over the Chicago Fire, his first media appearance since it was announced that he would join Tottenham Hotspur in 2015. However, despite the news that he would eventually play in the English Premier League, Yedlin chose to focus on the task at hand—helping Sounders FC win trophies.
“My main focus for the last year has been Seattle. I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve been doing,” Sounders FC’s first ever Homegrown signing said. “My main goal is to win MLS Cup here. And also U.S. Open Cup. Nothing is going to change. I’m just excited for the rest of the season.”
That excitement comes with a sense of relief for Yedlin, too.
The two-time MLS All-Star has been the center of rumored transfer interest ever since he exploded onto the international scene with his three substitute appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, helping the U.S. National Team reach the Round of 16.
Yedlin and Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer both acknowledged on Wednesday that Seattle had interest and offers from multiple teams around Europe. Ultimately, Tottenham Hotspur proved to be the best fit for Yedlin and the Sounders, relieving what was at times an overwhelming pressure.
“It’s refreshing to get it all over with. It’s been a lot in the last month and a half,” Yedlin conceded. “When it started, it was pretty exciting, but as time went on and on and not knowing where you are going to be, it gets a little bit stressful. I’m just glad to have it all done and I’m excited that it worked out well for both parties.”
Before deciding on Spurs, Yedlin consulted with three teammates with English Premier League experience. Djimi Traore, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey all told him the London club would be a good landing spot for him in the next step in his professional career.
When U.S. National Team Head Coach and Spurs legend Jurgen Klinsmann expressed the same sentiment, the choice became obvious for Yedlin.
“I just felt Tottenham was the best fit for me. The playing style was the best fit for me,” he said. “Location-wise, I really, really enjoyed London.”
Yedlin spent a few days in London while completing his medical examination and paperwork last week. He returned to Seattle on Saturday, but the deal wasn’t finalized until Wednesday morning, so he was held out of Seattle’s 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday. With all of signatures accounted for on Wednesday, he was back on the field for Seattle and looked every bit the unimpeded player that had become a star for Sounders FC over the last 20 months since he first signed for his hometown club in 2013.
He will remain with Sounders FC through the end of the season before Tottenham Hotspur decides his next step. With all of the rumors and speculation now well behind him, Yedlin will man the right back position with the flare and smile that has endeared him to fans around Seattle and across the country.
That emotion was ubiquitous on Wednesday, but he acknowledged that his final match with Seattle will carry a different type of sentiment.
“It’s exciting to get back on the field. Anytime you step on the field in front of the fans, especially these fans, it’s exciting,” he smiled, his camouflage bowtie adding a unique touch to his always unique attire. “When it’s my last game, that will be my sad, emotional game.”