Thirty years ago, Lee Yarbrough and Stacy Story moved from the United States to Mexico and they never left. William Yarbrough was born in Mexico four years later and brought up there. Two weeks ago, his family history collided with his personal past when he received his first ever call-up to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“My parents moved to Mexico as missionaries and they’ve been there ever since,” Yarbrough told ussoccer.com. “At an early age I knew what I wanted to do, which was play soccer.”
Yarbrough has played professionally in Liga MX since 2010, when he began his professional career with Pachuca before moving to his current club León in 2012. At León, Yarbrough has backstopped the team to the 2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura titles. Beyond the club level, he knew he wanted to play international soccer, and as a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, he always thought there might be a choice to make one day.
His performances with León caught the eye of U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who sent scouts to Mexico City before sending the invitation. Ultimately, Klinsmann elected to call up the goalkeeper, and so far, he likes what he sees.
“William has a wonderful positive character,” Klinsmann said. “He’s highly motivated and wants to learn. Chris Woods, our goalkeeper coach, is full of compliments already so we are really glad to have him in camp.”
Goalkeeper William Yarbrough makes a save on the training pitch in his first camp with the USMNT.
At the moment, Yarbrough is just trying to take advantage of the opportunity to be in camp with the Men’s National Team.
“I like living day-by-day and doing my best every day,” Yarbrough said. “Right now, I’m just looking to give coach Klinsmann and the rest of the teammates a good impression of myself. I want them to know that I’m a person who’s going to give everything on and off the field, who truly shows passion and a commitment to the meaning of representing the United States.”
It certainly helps to have familiar faces on board, and with fellow Liga MX members Ventura Alvarado, Greg Garza, and Michael Orozco also in Zurich, Yarbrough has been able to draw on their experience as he gets adjusted to the new environment.
“It’s been great to talk to those guys that I’ve played with and against in Mexico, and they’ve all been hugely helpful to me, as have the rest of the guys.” Yarbrough said. “My experience with this first call-up has been great. I’ve learned a lot of things. Everyone helps you adapt in a very quick way. Coach Klinsmann has been very helpful with that, too.”
Yabrough has always been a follower of soccer in the United States, but his first real moment of pride in the colors of the National Team came as a 10-year-old watching the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“When the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup in a penalty shootout, I was pretty young,” Yarbrough recalled. “I was up in Montana when that happened, and just seeing the reaction of so many people to a sport that was just growing in the United States was something that caught my attention in a big way.”
His first time with the group has already been a thrill while the prospect of earning his first cap looms as a huge reward for the work he’s put in for so long.
“It’s just an honor,” Yarbrough said. “It’s a privilege to be representing the United States, and I’m trying to take advantage of this opportunity because I don’t want it to be just one time. I want there to be many to come. I think what’s helped is the way the rest of the team helps you feel like you’ve been a part of this group for a really long time.”