Former Southend United prospect Dru Yearwood is on the move, swapping New York for Nashville as his MLS odyssey continues.
The 23-year-old, who spent nine years at Roots Hall as an apprentice and professional, has left New York Red Bulls after three seasons and joined up with Nashville SC. The Boys in Gold have only been in existence since 2016, but they’re hoping to improve on their seventh-placed finish in the Eastern Conference, and see Yearwood as the perfect man to help them progress.
“Dru gives up needed industry and athleticism as a progressive box-to-box midfielder and should fit in almost seamlessly with our group,” Nashville general manager Mike Jacobs said in a release.
Yearwood will link up with some faces that are familiar to English football fans – former Wycombe man Steve Guppy is the assistant head coach for the team, whilst their squad includes former Nottm Forest striker Sam Surridge.
Yearwood departs New York Red Bulls, one of the bigger names in US soccer, having appeared 86 times for them. With three goals and three assists, he was a key man at the Red Bull Arena and leaves with the best wishes of the head of sport, Jochen Schneider.
“We want to thank Dru for his four seasons with our organization; the positive energy he brought every day was amazing,” the Red Bulls man said. “Dru is a great human being, and we are wishing him well in his next opportunity.”
Like anything in the United States, the fee isn’t straightforward. Yearwood has cost Nashville $75,000 in General Allocation Money for 2024, with a further fee of up to $75,000 in conditional GAM for 2025. That’s a possible fee of $150,000, or £120,000.
Born in Harlow, Yearwood spent some of his youth with Arsenal, before switching to Southend in 2011, aged 11. He progressed through the ranks at Roots Hall, making 62 appearances for them. He caught the eye of ambitious Brentford, then a Championship outfit, signing a four-year deal in 2019. He struggled to impress with the Bees, appearing twice in the Championship, before jetting off to New York, where he has been a regular for three seasons.
Yearwood is eligible to play for both England and Barbados. In 2016, he was called up for the Caribbean island to face St Lucia but did not make the team. He was also called up for England’s Under 18 squad in 2018 but pulled out due to a hamstring injury.
At one stage a few seasons ago, Yearwood was the next big thing. He burst onto the scene at Southend, and the Brentford move looked to be his gateway to stardom.
Injuries limited his impact in 2019/20 for Brentford – you might recall it being the season wholly disrupted by COVID-19. It feels as if he’s dropped off the radar since, but that wouldn’t be fair – he’s only 23, and this season, he’s lined up against Busquets, Messi, and Shaqiri, amongst others.
Major League Soccer is much better than it was ten years ago, and with the World Cup heading there in 2026, the light will continue to shine on the nation’s biggest teams. That means Yearwood’s switch between two top-flight clubs is a sensible one in a league that is growing by the day.
It must seem a long way from a dark and miserable Tuesday evening in Southend, that’s for sure!