ORLANDO, Fla. — U.S. men’s national team veteran DeAndre Yedlin has high praise for the young stars getting their first opportunities to work with new head coach Gregg Berhalter.
The USMNT is training in Orlando ahead of a Thursday friendly against Ecuador in Orlando City Stadium. This is the first USMNT camp of the Berhalter era that includes young stars Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Christian Pulisic, who are all just 20 years old and are playing for leagues outside of the United States.
“It’s great,” Yedlin told reporters. “Obviously, the last year, things have kind of been up in the air and they’ve been uncertain. You don’t know if this is the final group or who’s going to be involved. All of the younger guys, they’ve been so good. They’ve come in, had their heads down and just worked. I think now that we have a base and just a stable platform, you know you’ll really see an unbelievable growth, especially with these guys.
“I always say that this group of players and a couple of the younger guys, this could be a golden generation for the U.S, I think.”
Yedlin, 25, started his professional career in Major League Soccer with the Seattle Sounders before moving to English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. He now plays for Newcastle United.
Yedlin has earned 57 U.S. caps.
“I think a big part of that is players taking that step early and getting over to Europe,” Yedlin said. “I don’t like to talk badly on MLS and I’m not talking badly on MLS, I think just making that step and getting out of your comfort zone, it gives you … once you do step out of your comfort zone and then you do find some success, it brings even that much more confidence to you.
“I think that’s what [Adams has] experienced, that’s what Weston has experienced, obviously Christian. You see these guys, they’re playing with so much confidence, which, I don’t think we’ve seen so much with younger players.”
Yedlin said he expects people watching the USMNT to be “wowed” by the growth it’ll show over the next year.
“I think, with the system that Gregg has set up and just kind of, you know, his goals for us over the next year,” he said. “I think people are going to be pretty wowed just by the growth of this team. I think this team has the capabilities to learn so much and take in so much and just take it that much further.”