The next chapter in the professional career MNT defender DeAndre Yedlin will be written in the northeast of England now that he has a new home after signing with Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Here are five things to know about Yedlin’s new club:
Like many English football clubs, Newcastle United grew out of a local cricket organization, the Stanley Cricket Club, in 1881. The following year the football team was renamed Newcastle East End FC. Across Newcastle, another cricket club began branching out into football and appropriately formed Newcastle West End FC and eventually began playing in St. James’ Park – still the home ground of Newcastle United today.
The two clubs formed a fierce early derby in the regional Northern League before Newcastle East End turn pro in 1889. While East End’s fortunes were rising, West End had its poorest season to date and approached their rivals about a potential merger to keep some semblance of its own club alive.
East End took over the lease at St. James’ Park, and in a bid to attract more local interest as well as to bring the two clubs closer together the club renamed itself as Newcastle United in 1892. The club began playing in the English Second Division in 1893 and earned promotion to the First Division in 1898.
Having spent last season on loan at Newcastle United rival Sunderland, DeAndre Yedlin will be well acquainted with the weather in England’s northeast. With this move, the MNT defender heads past the Stadium of Light to England’s northernmost club, about 50 miles from the Scottish border. Along with Sunderland, Yedlin isn’t too far from Brad Guzan and his new club Middlesbrough.
Now on the other side of the Tyne-Wear Derby, his year with Sunderland may mean he has some work to do to win over the Newcastle United faithful. With both teams fighting relegation from the Premier League last season, Yedlin played a key role in helping to keep the Black Cats up in the Premier League. At the end of the day, Sunderland finished 17th – two points above the relegation zone and 18th place Newcastle United.
The Trophy Case
The club has been back and for between the different iterations of England’s First and Second Division, where they have won a total of seven league titles. Upon winning the First Division crown in 1992-93, Newcastle United won its first promotion to the newly created Premier League and came agonizingly close to winning the league championship two years later, finishing just two points back of champions Manchester United.
Their league success in the mid 90’s and early 2000s saw them regularly qualify for European competition, going as far as the second group stage of the 2002-03 UEFA Champions League and even winning the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
In domestic cup play, Newcastle has won six FA Cups, but hasn’t lifted the historic trophy since 1955.
Back in the League Championship, the Magpies will hope Yedlin helps make their stay a short one, with the aim being a quick return to the English Premier League in 2017-18.
The northeast club has boasted some of England’s top players through the years, with Jackie Milburn (1943-1957) and Malcolm MacDonald (1971-1976) considered top forwards during their eras. Future England manager Kevin Keegan made big playing contributions to the club before two stints as manager, and English legend Paul Gascoigne got his start on Tyne-side in 1985.
England international Alan Shearer scored 148 of his Premier League-record 260 goals during 10 seasons with Newcastle United, while fellow Englishman Les Ferdinand, Peruvian Nolberto Solano, Frenchman David Ginola and Irish goalkeeper Shay Given all had decent spells at the club.
From a U.S. National Team perspective, Yedlin becomes the second MNT player to suit up for Newcastle United, following in the footsteps of Oguchi Onyewu, who made 11 appearances with the club in 2007 during a half-season loan.
The Road Back to the Top Flight
Yedlin joins a Newcastle side that has taken six points from its first four matches of the new League Championship season. The club is led by seasoned Spanish manager Rafa Benitez, who has marshalled some of the top teams and players in Europe, including stints at Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He is best known for leading Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League title in 2005, and also earned European hardware with Valencia (2003-04 UEFA Cup) and Chelsea (2012-13 Europa League).
Preseason favorites to return to the Premiership, Newcastle saw a number of players depart, but refilled their roster with a few impressive signings, including Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace. The 25-year-old forward has gotten off to a fast start with the club, scoring four goals in as many matches.
With the departure of right back Daryl Janmaat to Watford this week, the 46-game league schedule and involvement in two domestic cup competitions, Yedlin seems a good bet to receive plenty of playing time in Newcastle’s bid to return to the Premiership.