USMNT's DeAndre Yedlin joins San Diego Loyal ownership group

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USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin
DeAndre Yedlin said that it was the Loyal's decision to walk off the field in protest last season led him to want to join their ownership group. (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

United States men’s national team defender DeAndre Yedlin is joining the San Diego Loyal’s ownership group.

Yedlin — who has been with the USNMT since 2014 and joined Galatasaray in Turkey this season after a five year stint with Newcastle in the Premier League — officially bought into the Loyal on Thursday, the team announced. Terms of his deal are not known.

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“We had great conversations,” he said, via ESPN. “My values and morals, both on and off the field, matched with theirs. So I think for both of us it was a good match. It happened pretty organically and naturally. I was fortunate that they accepted me to be part of their club.”

Loyal walking off field drew Yedlin to team

Yedlin said that, among other things, it was the Loyal’s commitment to standing up to social issues that drew him to the United Soccer League club.

Last year, two Loyal players were targeted with either racial or homophobic slurs on the field. Former LA Galaxy II defender Omar Ontiveros directed a racial slur at one of the Loyal’s Black players during a game, which prompted the Galaxy to release him.

Then just a week later, Phoenix Rising forward Junior Flemmings called Loyal’s Collin Martin, who is openly gay, a homophobic slur. The Rising later released Flemmings. The Loyal walked off the field after Flemmings’ slur and forfeited that game at halftime.

“The fact that a professional sports club decided to forfeit a game and potentially lose a playoff spot because of issues that I believe are above sport was huge to me,” Yedlin said, via ESPN.

Yedlin said he reached out to the club shortly after that incident, which is what led to him joining the ownership group.

"DeAndre's path through his own career is how we want to amplify [our message] and what we want to exemplify for our players," team chairman Andrew Vassiliadis said, via ESPN. "For our front office: put your best foot forward, challenge yourself at the highest level and compete. That's what we kind of do here and that's how I see DeAndre adds value. It's just a great add for the club."

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