PORTLAND, Ore. DeAndre Yedlin s star rose to new heights with every step he took in the World Cup.
The Seattle Sounders 21-year-old right back made his mark as the United States fought its way out of the Group of Death this past June. Yedlin s performance drew attention abroad, and premier clubs like Liverpool and Roma have been linked as possible moves.
It s been kind of crazy, there s been a lot going on, Yedlin said ahead of Wednesday s All-Star game against Bayern Munich. It can be stressful at times, so I m just focusing on what s at hand, and winning an MLS Cup.
Yedlin and D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid are ushering in a new generation for MLS and the U.S. national team. Both come from MLS s academy system, and have quickly risen to the league s forefront and beyond.
The 23-year-old Hamid just missed out on a World Cup roster spot, but made good use of his summer by leading D.C. United to the top of MLS s Eastern Conference. No small feat, considering United had the worst record in the league in 2013.
It s just a different mentality this year, Hamid said. There s a belief, there s a work rate, and there s confidence. When you have that approach, you find ways to win.
Yedlin and Hamid are two of MLS s great academy success. Yedlin spent a year at Akron before signing with the Sounders in 2013, while Hamid signed directly from high school as an 18-year-old prodigy. Hamid has benefitted from the mentorship of U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who has helped the young goalkeeper grow into one of MLS s most reliable anchors in net.
Tim has been a great to me, Hamid said. He watches MLS games, and he s been supportive of me since I cam into the league and the national team.
The pair will hope to shine in Wednesday s showcase against the best team in Germany. Bayern also offers yet another opportunity for two of MLS s bright young talents to prove themselves at highest level.
I m just trying to do what I ve always done, Yedlin said. That s what s gotten me this far.
The MLS All-Star game will air today at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.