DeAndre Yedlin: America’s most exciting import in years

Though he actually dropped out of the Premier League last summer, Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin has continued the rapid rise in form he showed towards the back end of last season amongst the English elite.

The American has emerged as one of the most important members of Rafa Benitez’s promotion charge in the North East and only a recent injury has slowed his progress down as the Toon Army try and make an instant return to the Premier League.

So, with Visit Britain running a competition in order to find the biggest Super Fan in the world, with a lucky individual being brought to England to take in a huge Premier League game of their choosing, closely examining one of brightest talents to make a similar move would be a wise idea.

Having initially left the United States back in 2014 after breaking onto the scene at that year’s World Cup, the Seattle-born speedster found life difficult when joining Tottenham Hotspur. Though an exceptionally gifted athlete, the fact former teammate Kyle Walker had established himself as perhaps the best right-back in the country blocked his route to the first-team somewhat.

In truth, even upon joining Spurs, Yedlin had quite the pedigree as an athlete. As a youngster, he watched his uncle play football from the age of four and quickly found he had the speed and the explosiveness to help him stand out amongst the crowd. One of his first teams was Emerald City FC in his home city, where he did enough to be noticed by the prestigiousĀ U.S. Soccer Development Academy and play for Crossfire Premier.

After impressing there, he was taken on by MLS side Seattle Sounders in their development sides and, after an impressive stint at the University of Akron, became the Sounders’ first-ever homegrown player. During his first season in the MLS, Yedlin established himself as one of the most promising youngsters in the league, as well one of the finest athletes in American sport.

He was included in the MLS All-Star team at the end of this debut campaign, becoming the first rookie in nine years to receive that honour, while he was named theĀ U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year around six months later.

Impressive stuff.

So, while time in north London must have proved relatively frustrating, his loan stint with Sunderland under Sam Allardyce was a true coming of age moment for him. Relying on his pace, Yedlin was a force bombing up and down the wings for the Black Cats as they managed to pull off another great escape and remain in the Premier League.

Perhaps it was surprising to see him drop down a division over the course of the summer, then. However, the 23-year-old has seemingly bought into the project currently undertaken by the Magpies as they attempt to make an instant return to the top-flight of English football.

Crucially for Newcastle, they’ve bought into him too.