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June 9, 2013 at 11:23 AM

DeAndre Yedlin off to Europe ahead of FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey

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Minutes after Saturday’s win against Vancouver, things were just starting to get busy for DeAndre Yedlin.

Here is how the Sounders FC defender explained his postgame itinerary to join the U.S. U-20 national team in Portugal ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup starting later this month in Turkey:

“Go home. Pack. Then get a good night’s sleep. Get a taxi to the airport in the morning. Leave at 11 o’ clock. Fly to the East Coast. I think I have an hour layover there and straight to Portugal.”

Yedlin has done well not looking ahead to the World Cup while playing regularly for the Sounders. But now the one thing directly ahead of the 19-year-old Seattle native is this big tournament. So what are the emotions?

“I have mixed feelings,” he said. “I don’t want to leave here, but it’s going to be a great experience over there. I am excited to join that team and see what we can do and see what we can mix up over there. It’s a bunch of mixed feelings — overwhelmed, excited — but I think it will be a good experience.”

Yedlin will miss somewhere around two to four MLS games for the Sounders depending on how far the U.S. advances (the team has a particularly tough group against Spain, France and Ghana). The hope is Brad Evans will be able to fill in at right back during his absence, and Zach Scott is available, too.

“We’ll have to make do,” coach Sigi Schmid said Friday. “We’ve done that this season, as well. But at the end of the day, we’re going to be a better team for it.”

And the benefit to Yedlin?

“It’s great for DeAndre,” Schmid said. “I think that the success that he’s had with us this season is what propelled him into the under-20 pool and then eventually onto the team. It’s good for him. It’s a great experience being part of youth world championships. You play against some quality teams, and there are some players that you’re going to play against who are going to have good careers – some guys that you’ll never hear of again, but some guys who are going to have good careers. And so for him, it’s just another stage in that development. Being the under-20 selection right now, does he have the potential to be considered for an Olympic team? Does he have the potential to be considered for the World Cup? Maybe 2014 is too soon. Maybe 2018. Those are all stepping stones in that direction.”

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