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As U.S. Advances, Rising Sounder Yedlin's Journey To 1st World Cup Extended

The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will take on Belgium next Tuesday in the knockout round of the World Cup. The U.S. men weren't expected to get past the so-called Group of Death. But they did, and they did it with the help of Seattle's own DeAndre Yedlin, a World Cup rookie.

"He's only 20 years old, an O'Dea High School graduate here in Seattle, came up through the Sounders Academy," said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel of Yedlin. "He is what they call a homegrown player. That has been a point of pride for many people around the Sounders, and certainly the Seattle sports community."

U.S. Coach Had Faith In Yedlin

Credit Julio Cortez / AP Photo
AP Photo
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann talks to DeAndre Yedlin during a training session in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 23, 2014.

Some were skeptical of Yedlin's placement on the team, says Art. 

"Because he's so young and so inexperienced, people thought, 'Well, he'll probably just be there to say he was there, and have that World Cup experience.' But JurgenKlinsmann, the coach, said, 'No, I want this kid to play.' So he inserted him as a substitute in the last two games."

And the coach's faith has paid off, says Art.

"To see that he has been engaged and handling the pressure is really very exciting, because this means that he's got a long, strong future in American soccer," he said.

"This young man is really a special talent, and the U.S. recognizes it. And I think the entire national sports community is being introduced to a very dynamic player."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.