Inter Miami CF defender DeAndre Yedlin just made history, becoming the Club’s first active representative to be called to a World Cup. Following the announcement, he expressed his pride in receiving the honor for the second time in his career.
“Having made a second World Cup is an incredible honor. Being a leader on this team, it’s incredibly important to the team, it’s important for me. I’m just going to try to do everything I can for the team, whether that’s on the field, whether that’s on the bench, or whether that’s in the stands. I’ll just try to be there in every way that I can…I’m going to try to be the best leader that I can,” said Yedlin.
Yedlin thrived at the club level this season, wearing the captain’s armband on several occasions and helping guide the team to its most successful regular season yet, achieving a Club-record points total (48), win total (14), goals scored (47), and highest seeding (sixth) this season. According to him, the opportunity afforded to him by Inter Miami helped him arrive at this moment representing the USMNT.
“Playing this year for Inter Miami I’ve really had to grow into that leadership role and that’s helped me with the national team having to be a leader, there’s correlation between the two. This year has been huge for me, I’ve gotten constant playing time which has really helped my fitness levels and confidence, and obviously it’s a great group to be around so my experience has been really positive and hopefully that leads me in well to the World Cup.”
One of Yedlin’s USMNT teammates - 2022 MLS Cup champion Kellyn Acosta - was effusive in his praise of the right back following the announcement. Acosta cited the characteristics that he believes make Yedlin an invaluable member of the squad, both on and off the field, heading into the World Cup.
“I really admire his work ethic. You mention his locker room presence, he’s a leader of his own and he leads by example. I feel like he’s such a personal person that he’s able to blend in with different environments and bring out the fullest potential in everyone. That’s a testament to who he is, not only how he is as a person, but he’s a great player as well…He’s a guy that’s worked extremely hard to get to this point. I think he is a testament to work ethic and I think it will be positive if guys can follow in his footsteps. He’s super influential for our team and I know in Miami everyone can say the same,” said Acosta
USMNT head coach Gregg Behalter echoed Acosta’s sentiments, going a step further and referring to Yedlin as the glue of the team.
“He’s a glue guy…He’s a guy that has been to a World Cup before, can share his experiences, but more importantly can continue to do what he’s been doing for us…He creates atmosphere for the team. Sometimes he’s a shoulder to cry on or talk to, other times he’s a motivator. Overall, he needs to keep doing what he’s been doing because he’s been doing a good job for us,” said Berhalter.
Now, Yedlin, the only player in the 26-man USMNT squad with previous World Cup experience, turns his attention to competing in Qatar, taking what he learned in Brazil in 2014 into account.
“After reflecting on the last World Cup, I think one of the greatest things I learned was, the best thing you can do is to stay present…If you can stay present and in the moment, that’s the most important moment there is. That’s the message I’ve tried to preach to the guys. Away from the performance aspect, it’s an experience that not many people get to have. It’s an experience that may happen only once in your lifetime. That’s a whole other reason to try to stay present and be aware of everything,” stated Yedlin.