U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been vocal in the past about his desire for more of his players to play for club teams in Europe’s best leagues.
“Show me you play for a Champions League team, and then you start on a Champions League team and that you may end up winning the Champions League. There is always another level,” Klinsmann said in January before the World Cup. “If you one day reach the highest level then you’ve got to confirm it, every year. Xavi, Iniesta, Messi. Confirm it to me. Show me that every year you deserve to play for Real Madrid, for Bayern Munich, for Manchester United. Show it to me.”
But, despite this wish from the manager, the recent trend has seen the opposite happening. Big name players like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley have made moves from big European clubs to the MLS.
Even players who are currently abroad are constantly connected with moves back to the U.S., Jermaine Jones has been linked with the Chicago Fire in recent weeks.
Yet Yedlin represents a younger generation of American players, many of whom understand the importance of playing for clubs in England, Spain and Germany.
Julian Green, despite interest from other clubs remains with Bayern Munich, John Brooks plays for Hertha BSC and Gedion Zelalem, who has yet to decide his international allegiance, has been turning heads for Arsenal this summer.
Even though the MLS is improving dramatically each and every year, especially with the growth of new expansion teams adding talent and fans to the league, it will never be the best league in the world.
If the U.S. wants to succeed at an international level players will need to constantly face off against the best players in the world, and the only place to do that is overseas.
The debate comes in about if it is better for a player to have regular first team soccer in an average league, or if practicing with a major club but never making it on the pitch is better for development.
Klinsmann is demanding the best out of his players, something that is more likely to happen with Yedlin being in a league like the EPL.
Even though it is a big risk, the reward is high enough that Yedlin’s decision could become the norm for young American talents.
Former American goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who spent a majority of his career in Europe including a stint with Tottenham, is worried about Yedlin joining Spurs.
“Spurs is a tricky place to play,” Keller said to Goal.com. “THey’re a team that has a lot of turnover in players. Spurs are a team that has the money, and they are always looking for a bargain, but it’s a tough place to go.
“I just want to see young American players play regularly, week in and week out. If that’s at Tottenham, great. But if it’s not, then it’s not the right move. It’s hard to develop if you don’t play.”
If Yedlin does, or doesn’t play,or if he is loaned out to another club, it will be interesting to see how one of the players labeled as the future of the U.S. Men’s National Team fares in the coming months and years.