Dru Yearwood Sept. 11
Ben Solomon

Dru Yearwood: ‘A Lot of Players Look at Me and Think I’m Older Than What I Am’

Dru Yearwood made his MLS debut last Sunday, entering in the 83rd minute for Florian Valot. Yearwood has used these first three weeks in the U.S. to adapt and learn the Red Bull style of play. 

“I feel I've learned a lot about myself in this time, spending a lot of time by myself as well as sort of away from my family and friends,” said Yearwood. “And just adapting to new surroundings; it's been a lot of fun, and I've learned a lot in three weeks.”

At a young age, Yearwood played in Arsenal’s Academy. For him it was a dream come true to play for the team he supports.  

“They’re the team I support,” said Yearwood. “It was sort of a dream come true at the time. I was there for about five, six years, and then, they let me go and found Southend straight away. I was there for about eight, nine seasons, and I can't say I have any bad memories at all. It's the place where I grew up, the place where I started playing football really, made my professional debut and played loads of games.” 

One of the significant stories from his time at Southend United was that by the age of 18, he became the team’s captain. 

“I was 18, I'm pretty sure,” he began to describe. “I was captaining players that were over 30. It was so scary. They had a lot of respect for me because I was very respectful to them, and I think that helped me because they were very respectful, as older pros to me, and they helped me through a lot of things as well. Being captain was a very scary experience, but I really enjoyed it.” 

Yearwood comes from a footballing family. One of his brothers played collegiate soccer in Kentucky, but the new Red Bulls no. 16 is the only one of three brothers that has reached the professional level. 

For him the change from Southend to Championship side Brentford F.C. was massive because with Southend he played to avoid relegation to League Two, while with Brentford the main objective was promotion to the Premier League. 

“It was a massive sort of football shock,” said Yearwood. “Going there really made me adapt because at Southend, you didn't have the ball that much, and you're just chasing games whereas at Brentford you're controlling games, you've got the ball most of the time and teams are sitting off of you. It was something I had to get used to, and it was probably the reason why I didn't play that much, adapting was tough. It was still a good year, and I'm happy I was there. I’m happy I went for it.”

As he continues to win more playing time with New York, Yearwood hopes to transmit all the experience he’s attained at such a young age.  

“I think a lot of players look at me and think I'm older than what I am, just by the way I sort of talk to people on the pitch, and yeah I guess I've just seen a lot of things in games at a young age,” said the 20-year-old midfielder. “Passing that on to people the same age as me is a bit scary, but I think they'll sort of get used to it, and I've got to get used to it as well.”