Timmy Chandler Says No to USMNT Camp Invite: The Heir Apparent, May Not Be So Apparent

On March 26th 2011 against Argentina, fans of US Soccer were given a glimpse of who they thought was going to be the successor to long time right back Steve Cherundolo.  Coming in at half time, Tim Chandler quickly demonstrated a penchant for going forward. His dangerous cross in the 48th minute created a great scoring opportunity for Jozy Altidore and his speed down the wing opened up multiple opportunities for the United States. It was only one game, but Chandler looked as if he could become an instant starter.

The son of an American service-man and German mother, he had all the things the US needed; he played a position of need, he was getting playing time at a top German club (FC Nuremberg), and he wasn’t in the sights of Joachim Low and the German National team.  Fast forward to the summer of 2011 at the Gold Cup, under advice from his club he declined Bob Bradley’s offer to play in the tournament, citing fatigue from the season.  Most were disheartened, but they understood.  Here was a 22 year old playing his first full season in the top flight of German football, and his club wanted him to rest.  Perhaps this was the case of a big club bullying a young player, but for the sake of player development, they let it slide.  The US was highly favored in the tournament and Cherundolo was still more than capable of manning his position.  Chandler tried to allay fears, claiming he was focused on meeting back up with the US, and German head coach Joachim Low even went so far as to say that Chandler wasn’t on the German national team’s radar.

One year later, on the eve of a month long training camp, which includes three international friendlies and concludes with the start of World Cup qualifying, Chandler again has denied a call-up. This time from fellow countrymen Jurgen Klinsmann, citing that he needs a “break”.  It seems that in turning down an important national team call-up for the second time in two years, Chandler has no interest in representing the US.

Naturally the coaching staff, the players, and fans are extremely disappointed on missing out on seeing a player with huge potential.  It stings for US fans because again they may have to bear being spurned again by another young dual nationality star.  And after having to endure rejection from Neven Subotic and Giuseppe Rossi, this one could very well leave a mark. But Chandler’s decision won’t be a death blow for the US, being that Cherundolo can still put in a shift, and there are some other young options that Klinsmann has called into camp.  You have Eric Lichaj who is a natural right-back but just finished the season with Aston Villa at left-back, Fabian Johnson has been a revelation for the US and Hoffenhiem, Edgar Castillo has had a career year at Club Tijuana, and add in another up and coming prospect in Alfredo Morales from Hertha Berlin, Klinsmann will have a lot to work with in the upcoming month.

The problem with Chandler’s decision is that the US can’t wait around for him.  Left and right back are areas of need, where starters and back-ups are needed.  The next month will give Klinsmann a real chance to see what the aforementioned players are capable of, but he should have had a chance to see them already.  In addition to Argentina, Chandler played in matches against Paraguay, Belgium, Ecuador, France and Slovenia.  Chandler took away valuable playing opportunities from other players who could have been groomed to fill the left back position in games against quality competition.  He took time away from guys who would die to put the US shirt on.

Interestingly, the one who may be hurt the most by this decision is Tim Chandler himself.  No one begrudges him the decision he’s made.  Being mixed racially, it’s entirely understandable that he may have never felt like he fit in with the Americans. He may feel more German than American, and that’s fine. The Americans pursued him. But the timing no doubt hurts him.  As far as we know he is not in Germany’s plans for this summer’s European Championship.  Furthermore, Klinsmann’s own words indicated this training camp is all business.  They are in this camp strictly for World Cup Qualifying and not for scouting.  Jurgen specifically said they are looking for leaders.  Players who, despite long seasons in Europe, are looking to build on that season use their time with the national time as an opportunity to get better.

Klinsmann did add that the door is still open for Tim Chandler, but one has to wonder how long it will be open for a player who has not made up his mind.

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6 Responses to Timmy Chandler Says No to USMNT Camp Invite: The Heir Apparent, May Not Be So Apparent

  1. Tijuana Robert says:

    Whatever national team gives Tim Chandler the best route to better
    his career is the best option. U.S. is currently digressing and
    might struggle to qualify for WC2014 and starting for the German
    national team is a huge feather in a player’s cap. Good Luck Tim.

  2. Ipecac says:

    Steven Beitashour, problem solved.

  3. CTBlues says:

    Sounds like he is hoping Germany calls him up but I highly doubt
    that will happen which. As for Alfredo Morales didn’t Hertha Berlin
    just get religated? Are any teams in the German top flight looking
    to pick him up?

  4. The original Tom says:

    What is interesting T. Robert, is that the best thing for many
    player’s careers is not to be called up for any national team, or
    be called up infrequently. I doubt Paul Scholes would still be
    playing if had not retired from England prematurely. Summers off
    can be great. I also think travel is a big factor, Chandler’s
    career is in Germany- the US is far away. Personally, I’m never
    offended by these things. International football/soccer is inferior
    to the club game but at least the players play for who they grew up
    rooting for.

  5. Section1Guy says:

    Tijuana, Chandler is nowhere near the German national team as every
    piece of information has said. So that part of your opinion is
    wrong. As for the US digressing and missing the World Cup. The team
    is coming off a victory over Italy. If digressing is falling behind
    Mexico? Fine. They’re not falling to fourth in Concacaf. It’s a
    falsity that “everyone” is entitled to an opinion. Opinions are
    entitled to people who have educated ones.

    • Tijuana Robert says:

      Section1, you’re coming off as a dick but I understand you can’t
      see the competition is picking up in Concacaf. Mexico is the big
      dog but you also have to worry about Costa Rica and Honduras and
      not to mention El Salvador who is the wild card. U.S. has to play
      tough away games and one slip up in a home match might see U.S.
      drop to fourth and have to face South America country. ——Italy
      was a friendly and cups aren’t awarded for friendlies if you still
      think that is a feather in our cap then we still have a long way to
      go as a soccer country.——-Let’s not forget the next WC cycle
      most of our “stars” are going to be well into their thirties and I
      don’t see the development in the U-23’s and U-17s. U-23’s got
      bounced from OLYMPICS!

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