The Akron connection
The story of DeAndre Yedlin – a young kid from the University of Akron coming out of school after his sophomore year to play for the Sounders FC – may sound a bit familiar.
That’s because in 2009, that player was Steve Zakuani, who was selected first overall by the Sounders in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Now, four years later, Zakuani is seeing Yedlin follow in his footsteps from the campus at Akron to the training ground at Starfire, where Yedlin is expected to join the team next week when the Sounders start training camp on January 21.
He also knows that Yedlin got all the preparation he needs to be a professional while playing under head coach Caleb Porter at Akron.
“That’s the best preparation. They’re training is like professional training,” Zakuani said.
Zakuani and Yedlin will face an odd proposition in 2013 – going toe-to-toe with their mentor and friend when Porter takes over the sideline for the Portland Timbers. While it is sure to make game day a bit stranger than usual, the rivalry isn’t likely to change the relationships that the two players share with Porter.
“I’m never going to get used to it. He’s a friend and now he’s the coach of the Portland Timbers. That’s not easy,” Zakuani said. “I think we’re all professional enough to know that when the whistle blows, you have a job to do. I do wish him personal success, but not against the Sounders and not better than the Sounders.”
The first regular-season meeting between the two clubs in 2013 will be March 16 at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders and Timbers will also square off in their first preseason match on February 5 in Tucson, Arizona.
Posted in Sounders FC