For Yedlin, U-20 championships a step toward Europe

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DeAndre Yedlin spent the past week playing against the next generation of stars in world soccer.

And while Yedlin, Sounders FC’s rising star of its own, said representing his country at the FIFA U-20 World Cup was an experience he’ll never forget, it also provided an important lesson, as the U.S. was eliminated in the group stage after going 0-2-1 against Spain, France and Ghana.

“Obviously we didn’t go as far as we would’ve liked to, but just to see the level that those players are at and see where I need to get to to hopefully one day play in Europe is great,” said Yedlin. “It’s good to get it firsthand.”

If the ultimate goal is to play in Europe, the 19-year-old Seattle native couldn’t have asked for a better stage. The U-20 World Cup in Turkey is being played in front of scouts from across the world, and several people — including Sounders coach Sigi Schmid — thought Yedlin showcased himself well as a speedy defender.

“You try not to think about that too much, because that can get to your head a little bit,” said Yedlin. “You’re just trying to play every game, take it game by game, and hopefully perform well enough that teams over there will notice you.”

The O’Dea High School product said he doesn’t have a timeline of when he wants to make the jump to Europe. That will depend on the circumstances and his readiness.

General manager Adrian Hanauer said the team is prepared for offers, even if Yedlin is “under contract here for a long time.”

“It’s our sport. If offers come in, offers come in and we deal with it as that happens,” Hanauer added. “But DeAndre is our starting right back right now, and we’d like to have him here as many years as possible.”

Martinez deal “less likely” every day

Mario Martinez’s loan with the Sounders ended Sunday, and while negotiations are ongoing to bring the Honduran national back, it doesn’t look good.

“As each day goes by, it makes it less likely (a deal will get done), but it’s something we’re still in discussion about,” Schmid said in a live chat with readers on seattletimes.com. “We’d love to have him return, but right now he’s in Honduras, we’re in Seattle, so we’re miles apart, so to speak.”

Clever wordplay aside, Schmid said he expects a resolution in the next couple days, though it seems nothing in the matter has gone to plan, including Martinez’s surprising national team call-up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“Our expectation was that Mario was going to be back here last week, and obviously he didn’t return, so maybe that’s his indication of where he wants to be,” Schmid said.

Notes

Defender Roberto Chen, who has been trying out the past week, left to join the Panamanian national team ahead of the Gold Cup. Seattle has been tracking the 19-year-old since he played against the Sounders a couple years ago in the Champions League with Panama’s San Francisco FC. Is a contract in the offing? “He’s done well since he’s been here in training,” Schmid said, “so we’ll have to see how it goes from there.”

The release of defender Ashani Fairclough last week was less about performance and more about freeing up an international roster slot ahead of the summer transfer window, according to Schmid. The Sounders have three of seven slots available, an indication the team is geared up for multiple midseason signings.

Forward Eddie Johnson has garnered attention leaguewide after dying his hair blonde. He said he’s been called a “cheese-head” and likened to Wesley Snipes’ character in Demolition Man.

Reign FC acquired forward Renae Cuellar, a Mexican national-team player who has five goals this season, in a trade Monday with Kansas City. Seattle gave Kansas City midfielder Teresa Noyola and the rights to unsigned defender Nikki Krzysik while swapping its 2014 second-round draft pick for Kansas City’s third-round pick.

Seattle also traded forward Lindsay Taylor and a fourth-round draft pick to Washington for a second-round pick.

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