Decision day looms as Chandler stands on verge of (finally) being cap-tied

By IVES GALARCEP

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras– It is a process that has spanned two years and two different U.S. Men’s National Team coaches. Timmy Chandler’s path to being cap-tied to the United States has gone on longer than most would have expected, and longer than some U.S. players would have liked, but it appears the wait will finally come to an end here on Wednesday when he is expected to play for the United States in the Hexagonal World Cup qualifying opener against Honduras.

The young German-born defender has accepted call-ups for friendlies but has backed out of tournaments and qualifiers, most memorably the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, when it can be argued that his absence helped contribute to the U.S. team’s demise (they lost to Mexico in the final). He used excuses related to needing rest and wanting to focus on club soccer, and each time he made a new excuse it felt more and more like he was holding out for a chance to play for Germany.

Things have changed though. Chandler has decided to finally commit himself, and his trip down here for Wednesday’s qualifier provides clear evidence of his intentions. That, coupled with an injury to Steve Cherundolo will very likely mean that he will make his first cap-tying appearance in an important Road World cup qualifier.

“I feel very proud now to play for the U.S. National team and tomorrow for the first qualifying game with the national team,” Chandler said on Tuesday before the U.S. team’s training session at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano. “Of course I was in the last game, in Russia, and I like the mentality of the team and of the trainer very much and I’m only proud to be here, and happy.”

Chander pointed to the feeling of camaraderie within the team as one of the key reasons for finally deciding to commit to the United States.

“The whole team are fine, and it’s like a little family and I very much like it,” Chandler. “I speak with (Klinsmann) a lot and he told me that he wanted me to make a future with the USA. That’s why I come here. I want to help the USA and I hope I can do it.

“We want to go forward with the national team and you see what’s happened here, I think it’s gone forward in the past months and years when he’s here. I hope it’s the same in the future.”

Chandler’s indecisiveness led to some consternation among U.S. players who didn’t appreciate what appeared to be lack of commitment, but now that he is ready to tie himself to the U.S. national team, there is plenty of appreciation for a player who looks destined to replace Steve Cherundolo as the team’s first-choice right back.

“It’s about time you know,” said U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. “It’s been a lot of back and forth. Probably too much if you ask me. That’s my opinion and Timmy, we think he’s a big part of the team. He’s young, but he brings a lot of grit and experience and he’s a really good player.

“Obviously commitment is a big thing for us so if that’s what he’s going to do we’re excited because he’s a fantastic player,” Howard said. “If we can have Fabian (Johnson and Timmy kind of bookend the back four that’d be great for us. With their youth and they’re already playing in a great league.”

Some U.S. fans still won’t buy that Chandler has finally committed to the United States until he takes the field on Wednesday, but the Nuremberg defender left no doubt that he intends to play on Wednesday, and do whatever Klinsmann and the United States needs him to do.

“I think I can make it,” Chandler said. “I can step in and do what (Klinsmann) wants and I’ll give my best tomorrow and I hope we win.”

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77 Responses to Decision day looms as Chandler stands on verge of (finally) being cap-tied

  1. OBRick says:

    I am paranoid that maybe he will somehow get “injured” tripping on something in the hotel sometime between now and game time.

  2. john.q says:

    BREAKING: Chandler stricken with diarrhea. Can’t play tomorrow. “I didn’t know I was lactose intollerant,” said Chandler.

  3. Dimidri says:

    I hope he’s playing for the US for reasons that go beyond his career pursuits.

    I have no problem with the guy holding out hope for Germany as long as he still has some connection to the US, nationality/ethnicity are not polar, e.g. you can feel very german and feel very american-I hope that’s the case with him.

    If not, if he feels no connection, then why are we playing him? Having players play for the US who are only doing it to further their careers is the antithesis of what international soccer is about and cheapens whatever victories we get with him.

    I don’t care where a player was “produced” because such a system privileges richer countries who can refine players like Drogba over the countries they feel ties to, I don’t care what language they speak, or how long they’ve lived in the US if at all-I just care that they aren’t cheating the system. I hope and think he isn’t based on the comments he’s made throughout this process.

    • Wendell Gee says:

      I don’t necessarily have problems with this sentiment, as long as it’s not solely applied to naturalized citizens. “Born and bred” Americans are just as capable of wanting to play for the national team only to further their careers as naturalized citizens are.

      • Dimidri says:

        Fair point, my criticism is less one of nationalism but of the implicit eligibility requirements for international soccer being met, otherwise what is the point?

        Also from the NYT-
        “I feel increasingly more American,” Chandler said. “I follow American current events now. Every time I fly over to the United States, it feels like I am coming home.”

        Chandler’s visits to the United States are expected to become far more frequent. If he plays well, it is likely he can be a regular contributor beyond the 2018 World Cup.

        He said he hoped that finally becoming tied to the national team would erase the widely held skepticism about his commitment.

        “I’m looking forward to this qualifying game, and I’m completely committed to this team for the future,” he said.

    • JJ says:

      I don’t care what his reasons are. The fact is, he is the best rb in the pool by many many many miles and I’m glad we gave him the time to choose us.

      • Ryan says:

        Not yet he’s not, but he will be, and probably sooner rather than later.

        • Bobb says:

          I love Cherundolo (and even Parkhurst), but Chandler is the best RB we have right now, not just in the future.

          • Lost in Space says:

            As much as I like Chandler…and believe he is a huge boost to the USNT…When everyone is healthy I’d rate him #2 in the RB depth chart.
            Dolo, Chandler, Lichaj, Parkhurst

            • Miguel Rubio says:

              Agreed. There’s no way Chandler’s better than Cherundolo, not yet at least.

              And I’ve got no problem with Chandler committing himself to the US after some indecisiveness. It was probably a very difficult decision.

              Which reminds me, I’m fine with Landon Donovan taking a little rest but it’s about time he comes forward and commits himself to the USMNT for World Cup 2014.

              Up the Yanks.

              • Eurosnob says:

                I could care less whether he is currently ranked ahead or behind Dolo. Dolo is injured and we need a good RB for a tough WC qualifier. I remember what happened to our lead when Dolo picked up an injury against Mexico in the Gold Cup final and BB put in Bornstein.

      • patrick says:

        he may have the highest upside, and going forward he probably will be the best RB, but its ridiculous to think that he’s better than that Mayor of Hannover right now.

    • The Soccerist says:

      Fair question but it makes you wonder if we are doing enough to generate our home-grown players. For example, you can see that Massachusetts leads the country with 2.6% of the population playing youth soccer link to tinyurl.com but Illinois is the most efficient state for turning youth players into national team players link to tinyurl.com.

      In short, can we really afford to turn aside foreign-born players? I say welcome Timmy C!

      • Rory says:

        I suspect a correlation, not a causation. Maybe Illinois isn’t doing anything exceptionally correct, maybe they just happen to have more scouts pass through there. Chicago just happens to be the home for the US Soccer Federation, correct?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      We are a nation of immigrants (except the native americans were already here, but I digress). It’s been a running issue since the country’s founding at what point we should pull up the drawbridge. Irish, Italians, Mexicans, etc.

      There are countries like the UK that won’t play a naturalized person, Nacho Novo couldn’t play for Scotland, for example, despite years for Rangers and a UK passport. Mexico struggled with LaVolpe and players like Sinha. I actually think we’re laid back on the scale. There is actually a lengthy if intermittent history of grabbing Germans, Dooley, Mason, etc. For them to be “in play” they basically have to have at least one American parent. These are soldiers’ kids. Some are more connected than others. So the connection thing is relative.

      Mastroeni (Argentine), Agoos (Swiss), Stewart (Dutch), and others were also born abroad.

      I’d be more upset with people like Rossi or Friedel. Personally the Germans are the least of our worries because in their absence the XI would be significantly weakened and it would be obvious we’re in a lull between the Donovan generation which is ageing and the Corona generation which is just breaking in.

      • Rory says:

        Have you ever noticed full of “half-Americans” we are? London Donovan (Canada), Tim Howard (Hungary), then the German and Hispanic players… It’s enough to make Preston Zimmerman’s head spin.

  4. MikeG says:

    LOL…

  5. Eddie Vedder says:

    I hope the guy scores tomorrow just so the haters crash and burn once again.

    lol

  6. Neruda says:

    “It’s about time you know,” said U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. “It’s been a lot of back and forth. Probably too much if you ask me.”
    Howard shares his frustration with Chandler’s past indecisiveness. The players embrace him now because he’s committed and well he’s really good.

  7. MikeG says:

    Herzlich willkommen Timothy. Ich glaube, Sie werden mit dem Team mindestens ein Jahrzehnt sein.

  8. Todd says:

    Yes Mike. I also hope he has a long career with the USMNT. Ready for the Hex!

  9. Chance says:

    I never really believed that he was ‘holding out for Germany”… I think he just needed time to think about making his decision and I can respect that. I’m glad he’s going to be part of the team going forward because he is a quality player! Now let’s hope Brooks chooses the USA too!

    • CroCajun1003 says:

      Gotta agree with Chance.

      This is a HUGE decision. Remember, this guy was born in German, lives in Germany, and plays professionally in Germany. Despite his American connection and how “American” he feels in his heart, he’s got to be under enormous pressure from his friends and fans.

      I really hate to use this analogy, but it fits so well in this situation. He’s essentially “coming out the closet” as an American. Just because he’s hesitating doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t want to be here all along.

      • soccerhorn says:

        You do realize these two comments make no sense. If he wasn’t holding out in hopes of playing for germany, than what was he holding out for? He was just unsure if he wanted to play international soccer? Yeah, a lot of soccer players go through THAT. He didn’t want to admit to himself that he has American relatives? That’s not weird at all. Germans…

        • CroCajun1003 says:

          He’s not a soccer playing robot. He’s a living, breathing, young adult. Not all the factors that went into this decision were soccer related.

          To assume that no emotional factors went into the decision is crazy.

        • David JS says:

          well once you are cap-tied, you’re set in stone for life. So why isn’t it possible that he wasn’t ready to commit to the USA (something he probably hadn’t considered for most of his life) and also not necessarily be “holding out” for Germany? He probably just didn’t want to realize after playing in 3 games in the Gold Cup that he didn’t feel American enough to be playing for the USMNT, because then his international career is over at 22. It could’ve been just hesitancy to make a lifelong commitment until he felt he really knew and was comfortable with what he was getting himself into.

          • patrick says:

            dude, you’re comment makes zero sense. So, he wasn’t holding out for germany, but he didnt want to be tied to the US for the rest of his career? Does he hold a third passport I dont know about?

      • patrick says:

        you’re ignorant if you think this is anything like “coming out of the closet” as a gay person, and frankly, even comparing the two belittles the situation many gay men and women find themselves in. Seriously, think before you speak

        • Rory says:

          I think it’s a better comment than you think. Germany is a pretty messed up place when it comes to nationalism. Obviously they have to tiptoe around the issue of German pride for historical reasons, but for so long the definition of a “German” was to have been born to German parents. As a result, immigrants aren’t particularly welcomed and even half-Germans are sort of a second class or at least first class part b. The children of immigrants there often feel as if things aren’t exactly open to them, and from hearing Jermaine Jones talk about how different the locker room felt in the USA team I think you can read between the lines what he is saying. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the black half-Germans tend to play for their other nation and the white half-Germans tend to play for Germany.
          So yeah, openly pledging your allegiance to the USA might not seem to you to be as big a deal as facing the stereotypes and hatred you have faced, but stereotypes and hatred are pretty universal in their ability to impact people and declaring that you had it worse probably doesn’t make anyone feel better about the prejudice they faced.

      • Mo says:

        Terrible analogy. If you want a good analogy, it would be Giuseppe Rossi, who everybody here considers a “traitor”.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I remember him complaining about the likely travel. The complication with these Germans is they live and work in Germany, if they don’t come play in MLS every quali is a long transatlantic trip to play for a country they have only so much affinity with, often enough during the B.1 season. There are people born here with Euro jobs who quit coming back and retire internationally. Reyna didn’t come back for every quali back in the day. Considering he started playing Euro friendlies, but then had to weigh quali reality, I think it was just an honest, am I up to this?

      • Joe+G says:

        I’ve always thought that his club and club coach had a huge influence on him. A little discouragement about playing for the US (and the travel, etc.) and a hint that he might be in consideration for Germany from someone in a position of power over your career can be huge.

  10. THomas says:

    I can’t wait to beat Germany in the 2014 or 2018 world cup. You can bet we’ll end up playing them at some point. I can see the story lines now…

  11. MikeG says:

    Off topic, but the issue of dual nationals: Germany does not recognize dual national status unless you already have a german passport to begin with. I would have to give up U.S. citizenship in order to get german citizenship. Too bad because I think that highly of Germany to get a second citizenship, but not at the cost of losing U.S. citizenship. I believe Chandler, Jones, and Johnson already had German citizenship by birth before U.S. citizenship. The U.S. recognizes dual citizenship and we see these players on the USMNT now.

  12. Jim Morrison says:

    So much for pumping money into residency and the US Academy league for developing American players.
    “Klinsy” will find 7 more Germans before 2014

    Save all that bull shite about these guys being proud of being Americans. They want to play in the World Cup and would play for Antarctica if they had a team

    Who was the (Liverpool) kid that Reyna tried to talk into playing for the US?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      IMO they are filling a gap the development system has not filled. If you want a useful thought exercise drop the German and Mexican players and think what our roster would look like without them.

      • chris says:

        We won our world cup group without them

        • Rory says:

          Actually Jonathan Spector is half German, but maybe he doesn’t count to you. On the topic of half-Americans we had Haitian Altidore, half-Canadian Donovan, Half-Hungarian Howard, Half-Mexican Bocanegra, Gomez, and Bornstein, Torres, half-Jamaican Buddle, Nigerian (both parents) Maurice Edu and Onyewu, Brazilian Feilhauber, Polish-American Guzan, Scottish Holden

          • richd3668 says:

            By the way Jose Altidore in not Haitian in any way as regards citizenship. He is a native born American (born in NJ) and raised in Gods promised land, Boca Raton FL. where I had the opportunity to coach against his HS team.

            As to using naturalized players Germany has two naturalized Polish players on their team Klose and Podolski. So even the mighty Germans will stoop to conquer.

          • kevdflb says:

            By my count exactly zero of those players are comparable, since not were born and raised abroad.
            Holden left Scotland when he was about 10 (though his family is from near Bolton, IRC) and Feilhaber left Brazil at about 6.

            All others were born and raised in the US.

            But, I think we agree about the more important point that anyone with a US passport and the ability and desire to play for the US should be welcomed.

  13. kevdflb says:

    Good for him.
    If he wanted to dedicate himself to his club, or avoid some insane travel requirements after a long and grueling professional season, so be it.
    If he was taking some time to make his decision and skipping what he viewed as a less important tournament (the Gold Cup), to see if Löw would come calling, well that is his choice as a dual national. I don’t believe he had the negative experiences that say, Jermaine Jones had growing up in Germany, so it makes sense that he would feel strongly about representing either country.

    I’d rather he take the time to make the decision that is right for him so that he’s committed to the USMNT than he rush it and then spend years second guessing his decision….

  14. SBI Troll says:

    Chandler and Johnson: The future at fullback starts tomorrow.

  15. OBRick says:

    Now we need to start opening military bases in Brazil and make sure we do NOT issues condoms to our soldiers.

  16. sly says:

    If only 25 years ago we had bases in Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and the Netherlands, wed be in quality shape right now.

    If just half the members of SBI boards would go to these countries marry and all that comes with that perhaps our fifth columnist will create a deeper player pool 20 years from now.

    Yes I’m being facetious.

    • GW says:

      You are also about the 500th poster to use this” Bases in Brazil” line since we first heard about Jermaine Jones.

      Very derivative and unoriginal The US is currently putting a fair number of bases in Northern and western Africa but I think they are supposed to be secret so interaction with the locals is probably minimal.

    • andrewfroboy says:

      I live in Brasil and married a Brasilian, Before we got married I made my wife commit to the fact that any and all of our sons would play for the USMNT no matter where we were living at the time.

    • Atletico Man says:

      …and we do have bases in Spain.

  17. Dennis says:

    There is a rich history of US soccer having players, even eventual stars and captains who took advantage of dual citizenship (or becoming citizens) to play for the US. Probably the best known are Hugo Perez, Eernie Stewart, Preki and Thomas Dooley. While Perez was probably good enough to play for El Salvadore, by 1980, before he played in the 1984 Olympics for the USA, he was a US citizen, I think none of the others had a realistic chance to play for the Dutch, Yugoslavian or German national teams before they played for the USA. Others, most famously, Rossi have chosen to play for their country of birth. It is probably not an easy decision, even if there is not a clear invitation form one nation or the other. I am glad Chandler took the time to be sure he was taking a path he could fully commit to.

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  19. Juan says:

    We are so blessed…. NOT We really dont need him that much

    I do find it ironic though that he can play all kinds of games with JK over the last 2 years but when Donovan expresses doubts about continuing…. he’s shunned Maybe if Donovan played in Germany it would be different?