THOUGHTS ON CHANDLER
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BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Yesterday it was announced that the US national team is moving on without Timothy Chandler.

When the initial part of the US roster was announced on Tuesday, Timothy Chandler's name was not included and Jurgen Klinsmann said that the German-born right back wants to "take a break" from the US team.

Clearly this is not a good sign for those hoping to see Chandler in a US jersey anytime soon. It does likely mean that he is hoping for an eventual callup from Germany because I simply cannot see him ever refusing an invitation from Joachim Loew.

Players who are 22 years old do not take breaks from the international game. If anyone needed a break it would be Steve Cherundolo who is 10 years older and also coming off a Bundesliga season. Instead, Cherundolo was the first to arrive at the US national team camp.

So Chandler doesn't want to suit up for the US team right now and he may never want to suit up for the US team again. If his heart is not with the US, is it with Germany? It probably is.

This begs the question of whether or not he is good enough for Germany. I may be in the minority of journalists, but I think he will be on their radar after the European Championships this summer. His natural athleticism is very uncommon - even in the Bundesliga. He is fast, strong, and versatile.

Germany is one of the best national teams in the world and could very well walk away with the European title this summer. But even for a team that good, a phenomenal athlete who can move up and down the right side (either as a winger or a right back) is an asset.

It still will be tough for Chandler but this is a player who in June 2010 was informed by Eintracht Frankfurt that he was not in their plans. Since then, he signed with Nurnberg and went from a regular first team starter into a potential Bundesliga star. He probably wants to see how far he can go.

The next part of the question is how will he be viewed by the supporters of the US national team?
The US has lost out on top players before. Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotic are two players who would have been game-changers if they were to play for the United States. But the fact Rossi turned the US down and Subotic played for US youth national teams but filed for a switch to Serbia has left a bitter feeling among US fans.

Chandler is likely to surpass both Rossi and Subotic for two reasons: First is that unlike the other two, he actually played for the senior national team. In addition, he bailed on the Gold Cup, and quit the US team right before World Cup qualifying despite still being considered an important part of the team.

Second, Chandler made so many repeated comments, both in interviews with Yanks Abroad and to US Soccer's website, that he was dedicated to the US team. He frequently referred to it as a "dream." US Soccer has given Chandler his space. They allowed him to stay with his club and miss friendlies due to "injuries" that were not as serious as reported. Both Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann rated him highly and tried to make him a key part of the team. Subotic also once gave statements that he wouldn't turn his back on the US team, but unlike Subotic, Chandler was an adult when he made his comments.

If Chandler had refused a callup, he would likely have gone the way of Fulham's Brede Hangeland. Hangeland, like Chandler, is a US citizen but doesn't have strong US connections. He would have made a true difference for the US national team if he chose the US over Norway, but instead there really aren't any hard feelings from supporters due to the lack of US connections. The fact that Chandler played for the US and made the specific comments will leave bitter feelings.

Klinsmann said that the door is still open for Chandler's return. It is quite possible that in the future Chandler wants to come back and that his possible dreams of playing for Germany never come fruition. It's wise to never close the door on Chandler but if he announces he wants to come back right before the World Cup, would he be welcome then? It's unclear how the rest of the US team will feel about welcoming a player who previously refused to join the team prior to important and meaningful games.

The US is not at the level yet where they can turn away such talent, but the team has the ability to move forward successfully with players who are dedicated to the program. As Heculez Gomez once said "to play for your country is a privilege and an honor, and it shouldn't be taken lightly."

If a player doesn't share Gomez's attitude, why would fans or teammates want such a player? Success is not nearly as rewarding otherwise.

In the end of the day, international soccer is different than club soccer in that the players and the supporters are united and share the common bond of the flag. If a player does not share that goal, he really should not be part of the national team. Talent is important, but dedication, heart, and the willingness to fight for the flag are equally as important in the international game. Look no further the Frankie Hejduk who wasn't the most skilled player, but was remarkably successful at the 2002 World Cup through effort and willpower alone.

So while, Chandler says he wants to take a break from US Soccer, I hope the US fans now decide to take a break from Chandler. Despite occasional setbacks such as the recent Olympic qualifying team, soccer will continue to progress in the states and no one player or handful of players will ever change that.
Tony
Saturday June 9, 2012 1:58 am
Re: Subotic. He left because he was told point blank by the illustrious Thomas (W)rongen that he basically wasn't cutting the mustard in Europe. We all know how that panned out & now Subotic remains one of the most highly sought defenders in Europe. And where's Rongen? Had a stint managing perennial S. Pacific powerhouse American Samoa & is now at Toronto FC, way to go Tommy, you keep on keeping on in mediocrity & thanks for pushing Subotic out the door to Serbia.

As for Chandler, at this point, it's early days. If he decides to roll w/Germany, it'll be a squad player behind the veterans. If he decides to roll w/the US, yes, he'll have pissed off supporters at the outset but all will be forgiven once he commits his future to the US & solidifies his spot on the team.
Dana Blankenhorn
Wednesday June 6, 2012 7:22 pm
We got Jermaine Jones. We have Fabian Johnson, who I think is better coming down the flanks than Chandler. We're doing pretty well with half-German and half-American players who play in the Bundesliga.

Klinsmann is building a balance between Mexican ball-on-the-floor play and German physicality. Unfortunately at the same time Mexico is moving more toward our old style and Germany is trying to play more like Brazil.

For now we have enough Germans. Let the kid be, let him grow up, and let's see if he's good enough for Germany. He's played in friendlies for us. Let him play friendlies for them (if they will have him) and then let him decide.
braun
Tuesday June 5, 2012 11:48 am
Chandler is an unformed national team player. His previous "loyalty" to his father's-land is a ploy to get Germany's attention. Even if he isn't as good as other young right-footed German players, he will improve and that will influence them. But I don't think he is good enough to get on their roster.
He is good enough for us for sure but he'll be like spoiled fruit for some fans.
matt
Thursday May 17, 2012 11:47 pm
YAWN!!! This just gives another pro a chance to prove themself...
The team is the priority over the players...the USA is full of new talent....its his loss...plus we dont need to worry too much until WC time...he'll change his mind. Looking forward to Lichaj and FJohnson getting their shots on L/R.....
I think USA fans would also agree we would feel better producing homegrown talent! Born in the USA proud to play for the USA...these are the players we need to support....
If Chandler has questions....give somebody else a shot I say!!!
Go Stars and Stripes!!
Hunt Daddy
Thursday May 17, 2012 7:09 pm
@Michael

You're an idiot. Have YOU ever heard Rossi speak? He's got a Jersey accent.

Chandler probably wants to play for Germany. Given that choice, who wouldn't? If he gets a call from DFB, let him take it. Right now I don't foresee him being a part of the long-term German national set-up. And if he's sitting at home watching the US play in Brazil 2 years from now then he'll know he made the wrong decision. In the mean time, there's no use crying over milk that hasn't even been poured, let alone spilled yet.

Regardless of all that, Eric Lichaj is developing nicely. And having played against the kid, I'll tell you that he's not only talented but he's driven to succeed. I have no problem with him being the future of the USMNT at RB or LB.
Nick
Thursday May 17, 2012 6:16 pm
To Dony:

I was addressing the fact that Chandler can play either position, so those are the totality of the players that stand in his way. True, Lahm and Schmelzer are naturally left backs, but Lahm at least is a much better right back than Chandler is. Boateng can play all across the backline pretty well, though you're right he is mostly a center back these days. At right back specifically Gonzalo Castro, Andreas Beck and even Heiko Westerman (who is another defender that can play all across the backline) are significantly better than Chandler. I just don't see how he can make it into that team.
TGA
Thursday May 17, 2012 5:13 pm
Listen! We are the United States. The fact that a player like Chandler is even giving us a sniff is amazing. If Germany is giving him a sniff, he would be crazy not to wait and see. Which country has a better chance of winning The Cup in the next two cycles?
Michael
Thursday May 17, 2012 12:12 pm
This one stings. But, I wouldn't compare it to the Giuseppe Rossi situation.

Has anyone every heard Rossi give an interview? He's Italian. Period. He speaks English with an accent thicker than my Italian (from Novara) girlfriend. Sure he grew up in the US, but he was immersed in Italian culture (and real Italian culture, not that fake NYC, mob stereotype Italian culture).
Manuel
Thursday May 17, 2012 7:46 am
I hope klinsman never calls him up again. I would want to see his face in 2014 when he's not in the world cup with either Germany or the USA. He can get all the "rest" he wants then.
Dony
Thursday May 17, 2012 2:08 am
To Nick

For your statement: ", but is he better than Phillip Lahm, Marcel Schmelzer, Jerome Boateng, Gonzalo Castro, Heiko Westerman, Marcel Schaefer, Andreas Beck, Marcell Jansen or Clemens Fritz? Those are the players he's competing with for playing time at both outside back spots, and I frankly don't think he's anywhere near their class defensively."

You forget to mention that Lahm and Schmelzer are naturally left back and Boateng is central defender. Chandler, on the other hand, is right back and Germany till now has so much headache to find the right person in this position.
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