Report: Cherundolo: “Klinsmann knows what I can do”

SteveCherundoloHannover1-Eintracht (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

It may have only felt like a few minutes to us, but Hannover defender Steve Cherundolo’s three minute cameo against last Sunday marked his return from injury for the first time since May.

The long-time U.S. Men’s National Team right back has been dogged by knee problems in the last 12 months, and has undergone surgery on his left knee three separate times in 2013. Thankfully, he says, the injury problems are all behind him.

With the knees everything is okay again,” Cherundolo told German publication BILD. ”I’m 34-years old and have made over 500 official appearances, you always know your own body.”

Fans at the HDI-Arena in Hannover last Sunday gave their club captain a rousing ovation as he entered the field in the 87th minute of the Red’s 2-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt. It was a moment that Cherundolo is very thankful for, and with the positive result, has him hopeful for the club’s fortunes to turn around.

“It was a great feeling, I want to say thank you (to the fans),” Cherundolo said. “I thank the medical staff for the great job, I thank the coaching staff for their patience. I have thanks for my family, who built me ​​up again and again. And thank you to the fans who have welcomed me so great on Sunday.”

The veteran defender now has his sights on making the USMNT World Cup squad, but it won’t be easy. Cherundolo admits that he’s behind others due to the injuries he’s suffered in the last year, and he faces an uphill climb to make it back into the team with only six months remaining before the opening match on June 12.

However, with the right back position hardly locked up, Cherundolo still has a chance to work his way back in if he can regain some consistency and form at the end of 2013 and into next spring.

“Of course, one is always a bit skeptical that you will not be there,” Cherundolo said. “I’ve only played three minutes this season. Health and fitness are the most important things and now I need match fitness. Jürgen and I were recently in contact in mid-November. He knows what I can do.”

Asked whether he’d like to be drawn with Germany in the World Cup, Cherundolo reportedly smiled and said, “Okay, as long as we both advance.”

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What do you think of this report? Glad to see Cherundolo back healthy for Hannover? Think he has enough time to prove that he’s still the best USMNT right back? Do you still like Cherundolo’s chances of making it into the USMNT squad at the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

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42 Responses to Report: Cherundolo: “Klinsmann knows what I can do”

  1. KMac says:

    GO Stevie! GO!

  2. David M says:

    An in-form Cherundolo is clearly our best option at right back.

    • ABC123 says:

      Your evidence that he will be what you think he will be after almost a year off the game at a high level and 3 surgeries?

      Magic?

      • iggy says:

        I think what he is saying is that if SC returns to the form he was capable of before the injury. That’s of course a key question, but I agree, if he gets back into that form, he’s our best right back.

        To your later point, he’s old, but he hasnt shown a decline in form really like Boca did. SC just got injured and was forced out.

      • Increase says:

        @ABC123

        “An in-form Cherundolo ” he already answered you comment.
        He didn’t any “any dolo that shows up”

        Address the comment and not what you want the comment to be. So you can act clever.

      • Ryan says:

        I agree @ABC123, I too think magic is the answer

      • beachbum says:

        there’s none that Dolo will be in-form, duh. we’ll just have to wit and see.

        where’s your evidence that says an in-form Dolo is not our best option at RB? there none

      • Hogatroge says:

        Man ABC123, you ain’t here to make friends…

        That said, Cherundolo has over half a club season and half a dozen (or more) friendlies to demonstrate whether he belongs on the squad headed to Brazil.

        I think it would be nice to bring him into the January camp (since he just got his first garbage minutes for Hannover in a while. You’d think that his coaches know him well enough to trust that he will be getting back into form with the US.

  3. ABC123 says:

    “He knows what I can do.”

    Not play games for huge periods of time and suffer successive injuries at a very old age? Because this is a meritocracy, not a life-time achievement award.

    Talk to Bocanegra (who rightfully was put out to pasture).

    • Jermaine Jones says:

      How do you say Meritocracy in German?

      • ABC123 says:

        Starting for the 5th placed team in the Bundesliga and playing regularly in the Champions League is I think how it goes.

        • Del Griffin says:

          Basing a players inclusion on where he plays is about the opposite of meritocracy.

          • whoop-whoop says:

            It does make sense that when you are a players part time coach, you sometimes have to base a PART of your assessment on his merits elsewhere…. things like form and quality against level of competition.

      • jimcrist says:

        Ask Timmy Chandler.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Prrrrretty sure Cherundolo understands the nature of athletic competition at least as well as any of us. Perhaps this is why he proceeded/qualified the sentence you quoted with this:

      “Of course, one is always a bit skeptical that you will not be there,” Cherundolo said. “I’ve only played three minutes this season. Health and fitness are the most important things and now I need match fitness…

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      34 is not a very old age. The problem is really the injuries. If you get injured once you are more likely to get injured again in soccer even if the injury is in a different place. Stress causes injuries, too. The overall experience of injury might make a player a more careful player, but he’ll never be the same he was before the injury.

    • Ryan Giggs says:

      Did someone say 34 is old?

    • Methuselah says:

      Thou shall not lie.

  4. g-dub says:

    Such a quiet, steady confidence to this man. When he says he can return to form I believe him. If he is highly motivated to enter beast mode to make the squad that bodes very well for US.

    Bring it Stevo.

  5. Scrandal says:

    We all would love Steve to regain form and fitness. Lucky for him the German winter break will allow him to play friendlies and get some game time with little on the line, similar to preseason. I don’t think it’s out of the question he can earn his manager’s trust with a good winter break set of performances, win a starting position back in February, hold it through the spring then come into May/June in good form. Of course it’s always easier at 25. With no outstanding right back for us right now we should not do anything but hope for the best.

  6. FRANK says:

    I love the smiley face on Cherundolo’s jersey. It’s soo cute ^_^

  7. Bac says:

    Things have a way of working themselves out. He has plenty of time to get 90 minute match healthy and show himself in a top league. If he responds and stays healthy, he’s in the 23. If not, it wasn’t meant to be.
    If this position was locked up, or if he played in a weak league, I’d say he’s done…. but that’s not the case. He’s got the opportunity… I hope he stays healthy and makes it

  8. Dennis says:

    Clearly, how well he performs for Hanover will matter as will his performance during any period he might have with the USMNT. None of us can predict the future so we will simply have to wait and see. Cherundolo for his part seems to have put the knee problems behind him, seems to have a good attitude and is willing to work hard to return to good form. It remains to be seen if his 34 year-old body will permit his return to what we would like to see.

  9. C'mon Now says:

    so. what’s there to report?

  10. AlexH says:

    So assuming that SC injury is truly healed (and I know this is a huge assumption) will the USMNT get the best of both worlds in that we will get SC back without injury and with out all of the wear and tear associated with playing a full season of Bundesliga soccer on top of a WC qualification campaign?

  11. Maykol says:

    I really hope a committed tinny chandler is on this squad. He will definitely be a huge help to the group

    • Ives Galarcop says:

      It would be a bit ironic if quicksilver Tinny leads us, like the messenger god mercury, to a golden victory over Germany.

  12. michaeljt says:

    I think this draw kills Cherundolo’s chances of making the team. Flying 9000 miles between venues (excluding travel from the Sao Paulo training base) at his age, especially with one of the games literally in the middle of the jungle — that’s a tall order for anyone, let alone a 34-year-old who hasn’t played in a long time.

  13. OB Rick says:

    By far my favorite player and have always felt he was a little under appreciated. I met him a couple of times and he is a really down to earth guy. I am really pulling for him.

  14. fischy says:

    Can he shut down/keep up with Cristiano Ronaldo?

    • Gary Page says:

      No, but then I don’t know anyone who can. The issue is whether Dolo is better than our other options. Stopping Ronaldo will require a team effort. I doubt we can stop him, just try to limit how much damage he does and try to score as many times or more than he does.

  15. GJJ says:

    Does anyone know what the condition of his knee was when the US played Brazil? Neymar can make most right backs look bad, but he gave Stevie a particularly brutal drubbing. Hoping it was down to Steve’s knee. I absolutely love Steve’s positioning and his crossing of the ball.

  16. Joe says:

    In successive World Cups, Ghana ended (for all intents and purposes) the careers of two USMNT stalwarts. In 2006 Claudio Reyna reacted slowly to the Ghanian pressure and was subsequently overpowered, losing the ball and giving up the goal that officially snuffed out a poor showing in Germany. In 2010, as more of us remember more clearly, Bocanegra was beaten to a long ball that led to Ghana’s key goal.
    Hopefully, neither Cherundolo not Beasley are shown the same treatment by Ghana in Brazil.

  17. Mike R says:

    Too old too slow. Ghana will blow right by him

  18. Good Jeremy says:

    Cherundolo had clearly lost a step in the games after the World Cup and I can’t imagine three years of aging and a couple major injuries will allow him to get the speed back. Any lingering knee issues will be a death sentence against Portugal’s wingers and Ghana’s speed.
    Cherundolo has been my favorite player for a long time, but the idea of him starting next summer scares the hell out of me, whether he starts getting steady club minutes or not.

    • GW says:

      Mr. Jeremy Good or otherwise,

      If you isolate Christiano one on one on any US defender , actually just about any defender from any country, odds are he will blow by him.

      The idea behind team defense is to minimize this.

      Defense is not just a matter of matching 40 yard times. If Dolo regains his starting job for Hannover, and he will have to do that to get into the 23, Hannover will face any number of speedy Bundesliga wingers. I’m sure he knows how to set up his defense to handle that .

      If beating defenders was just about speed, Usain Bolt would be a winger for Man U.

  19. Chad says:

    According to that pic, maybe he’s referring to some other skills…