By Michael Beaven
Beacon Journal sports writer
Former University of Akron standout DeAndre Yedlin is a Major League Soccer All-Star.
Yedlin, 20, has been named to the MLS All-Star squad in his rookie season as a defender with the Seattle Sounders FC.
He is the first former UA player to be named an MLS All-Star, and the first rookie named to the gameday roster since defender Michael Parkhurst earned the honor for the New England Revolution in 2005.
“That’s a pretty big honor and I am excited,” Yedlin said during a news conference in Seattle. “[Seattle coach] Sigi [Schmid] had a talk with me and he just told me congratulations. It is an amazing feeling to be honest. I did not expect it. I knew I was a nominee. Just to be in my first year here and be thought that highly of, it’s great. It’s a good feeling.”
Yedlin was selected to play for the MLS side against Italian Serie A side AS Roma in the MLS All-Star Game on July 31 at Sporting Park in Kansas City.
The match kicks off at 9 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.
Yedlin, who is 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, played two seasons with the Zips, who were Mid-American Conference champions and NCAA Tournament participants in each of his seasons.
“I just have to keep a level head,” Yedlin said. “I know myself, there is still a lot I need to work out to improve my game. I just gotta keep pushing at it every day in training.”
Yedlin has appeared in 19 matches this season with 17 starts. He has two goals and one assist.
Despite his All-Star selection, flashy hair and the glimpse and glamor of being a professional athlete, Yedlin still drives an older Subaru car.
“I am going to drive that car until the wheels fall off,” Yedlin said. “I am going to save as much money as I can right now and be smart. My parents taught me well. Maybe in a year or so I will have a new car.
“It is a 2002. It has been driven a lot. It has 250,000 miles on it. I will drive it until it dies.”
Yedlin is one of the players added to the All-Star roster by MLS All-Star manager Peter Vermes and MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The roster also features players selected by a fan vote.
“It’s a tremendous honor for him and our organization,” Schmid said. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders. I am sure he’ll keep himself in check.”
MLS All-Star roster
Goalkeepers: Raúl Fernández (Dallas) and Nick Rimando (Salt Lake).
Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston), Matt Besler (Kansas City), Tony Beltran (Salt Lake), Aurélien Collin (Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles) and DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle).
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Patrice Bernier (Montreal), Tim Cahill (New York), Brad Davis (Houston), Will Johnson (Portland), Mike Magee (Chicago) and Graham Zusi (Kansas City).
Forwards: Marco Di Vaio (Montreal), Thierry Henry (New York), Robbie Keane (Los Angeles), Camilo Sanvezzo (Vancouver) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.