TUKWILA — DeAndre Yedlin admitted his knowledge of Italy’s AS Roma is limited to having played against the team on the popular FIFA Soccer video-game series.
That stands to change July 31, however, as the Sounders FC defender was named Monday to the 20-man game-day roster for the MLS All-Star Game, which will be played against the storied Italian club at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Yedlin is just the second homegrown player to be available in an All-Star Game. The 20-year-old Seattle native is also the first rookie to make the game-day roster since Michael Parkhurst in 2005.
In the span of six months, Yedlin has signed with the Sounders, earned a starting job, played for the U.S. at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, and been named an MLS All-Star.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” he said, smiling, “but it’s not a bad ride to have.”
Yedlin, the only Sounder on the All-Star team, was one of two picks made by MLS commissioner Don Garber. It was a decision in part to highlight the academy system and the players it is producing.
All-Star coach Peter Vermes, the coach of host club Sporting Kansas City, noted on a conference call, though, that he considered picking Yedlin on his own, homegrown player or not.
“For Seattle to produce a player like Yedlin is just fantastic,” Vermes said.
Yedlin called his unexpected inclusion “an amazing feeling.” And as a player known leaguewide for his hairstyles, he added he might have a new look for All-Star week.
Coach Sigi Schmid described Yedlin’s selection as “a tremendous honor for him and for our organization.”
Yedlin insists that overconfidence won’t be an issue as accolades roll in so quickly.
“There’s still a lot to work on to improve my game.” he said. “I’ve just got to keep pushing at it every day in training, keep improving myself and obviously take this, use it for my confidence, but keep my highs low and my lows high.”
Schmid isn’t worried.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders,” the coach said, “so he’ll keep himself in check.”
It is uncertain if Yedlin, an O’Dea High School product, will miss any time with the Sounders. The All-Star Game is scheduled in between home games on June 28 against Chivas USA and Aug. 3 vs. FC Dallas. Yedlin’s role against Dallas will likely be determined by how many minutes he gets against Roma, Schmid said.
• Michael Gspurning will see a specialist Tuesday regarding a left forearm injury he suffered Saturday at San Jose. X-rays revealed no fracture, and Schmid said the issue is with the goalkeeper’s tendon. Gspurning hadn’t felt much improvement the past couple days and has already been effectively ruled out of Saturday’s home game against Colorado.
• Others unlikely to play are Djimi Traore (hamstring), Shalrie Joseph (calf), Marcus Hahnemann (hamstring) and Andy Rose (hamstring).
Brad Evans (rib) was scheduled to undergo an MRI after Monday’s practice.
• One player who could be back this week is Obafemi Martins, who missed last game with a calf injury.
• Schmid said the Sounders haven’t decided whether they will appeal Osvaldo Alonso’s red card from Saturday.
A look at Sounders FC’s All-Star Team selections since the team’s first season in 2009:
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 2009
Kasey Keller 2009, 2010, 2011
Freddie Ljunberg 2009, 2010
Fredy Montero 2009, 2010
Osvaldo Alonso 2011, 2012
Eddie Johnson 2012
DeAndre Yedlin 2013