DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Another American is headed to the German 3rd Liga, as David Yelldell has signed with SG Sonnenhof Gro▀aspach for the next two seasons.
The Stuttgart-area club announced the signing of the locally-raised veteran keeper on their website, stating "SG Sonnenhof Gro▀aspach has signed David Yelldell today. The 34 year-old receives a contact with the club until June 30, 2018."
Yelldell has spent the previous five seasons as a rarely used backup option for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, taking the field only twice for the senior team, once in the German Cup immediately after joining in 2011, and again in their final league game of the recently-completed season.
He was one of two options that SG had been testing in recent days, and ultimately won out over 26 year-old Austrian Rene Swete. Each of the two players was on the field for one half of their 1-0 warm-up victory against Regionalliga club FV Illertissen over the weekend.
Born in nearby Stuttgart, Yelldell grew up in the region, and spent several years as a youth player several miles down the road at SG Backnang.
The club's sporting director Joannis Koukoutrigas praised the German-American's leadership qualities, expressing confidence that he will be a positive addition to the team both on and off the field.
"Those who are familiar with David know that he is not only a great goalkeeper, but is also a character that fits perfectly with us. He will not only help us with his class, but also with his experience, and therefore we are very happy that he has chosen to join SG depsite requests from other clubs."
Yelldell made one appearance for the US National team, playing the second half in a 2011 friendly against Paraguay during the final months of Bob Bradley's reign.
Prior to his long break from first-team duty at Leverkusen, he had several strong seasons in Germany's second tier, initially as a starter for TuS Koblenz before transferring to MSV Duisburg.
SG finished the 2015/16 season within eyesight of the 3rd Liga's promotion playoff spot, ending up in seventh place, ten points off the pace.
They will kick off the new season on Saturday, July 30 with a trip to Chemnitzer FC.