U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT Notes: Chandler uncommitted, Klinsmann discusses roster and more

Timmy Chandler USMNT (Florian Eisele:ISIphotos.com)

photo by Floria Eisele/ISIphotos.com


If there was any lingering uncertainty as to the real reason Timmy Chandler turned downed cap-tying call-ups the past two summers, U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann put them to rest on Sunday.

Speaking via a conference call ahead of the United States' Wednesday friendly against arch-rivals Mexico at Azteca Stadium, Klinsmann confirmed what most American soccer fans have suspected for some time: Chandler just is not committed to the U.S. team. 

There was no more talk about fatigue nor about Chandler needing to rest. Simply, Chandler just is not sure whether he wants to cap-tie himself to the U.S. team that has already begun its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"There's nothing new about Timmy," Klinsmann said. "Timmy is not sure yet if he wants to commit 100 percent to us and we don't stress it out. Simple as that. I told Timmy, 'Whenever you made up your mind, let us know. It's no problem.'

"But I don't want to bring in a player that is not 100 percent committed and we know about his qualities and we know about his character and everything and all we can do is show patience and understanding with all those players that sooner or later in their lives, with duel citizenship, need to decide what path they want to go. I think it's totally legitimate from his side, I think it's actually very honest from his side to say 'I'm not sure yet about this whole thing.'"

Klinsmann added that while he and his coaching staff do have discussions with duel citizens like Chandler about where they stand in terms of their national team preference, they do not try and convince them to pick the United States. Instead, the German-born head coach prefers that the players make the decision on their own when they feel ready.

"Sooner or later, make your call, follow your heart, do what you think is right for you," said Klinsmann. "You can't force anyone into a decision. It's not right."

Here are more USMNT notes from Sunday's conference call:


When the 22-man U.S. roster for the upcoming friendly with El Tri was announced, there were quite a few surprises due to the absence of several regulars as well as the inclusion of new players like Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and San Jose Earthquakes fullback Steven Beitashour.

Klinsmann revealed the reason as to why his roster was made up that way is because of the timing of this FIFA international date, saying that several European-based players are still trying to regain their form and fitness while others, like Clint Dempsey and captain Carlos Bocanegra, are trying to secure moves to new clubs. That has left Klinsmann with the chance to see some internationally inexperienced but talented players.

"The case is made with European players, they are not there yet," said Klinsmann. "They are still playing preseason, they are simply running behind right now, some have a little bit of injury issues, like Michael Bradley for example with muscle problems, like Jozy Altidore has a injury issue that came out of the (AZ Alkmaar) game today.

"You work yourself through all those elements. … And that gives you an opportunity to see some players on a very high international level with a game in Mexico City, which is a great benchmark to have. Those are the environment where you want to see if they can kind of handle the situation and get a first impression of those guys. I'm not worried about having more younger players in there or even new faces coming in, like Besler or Steven Beitashour, because they've proven their qualties and values over a long period of time in MLS."


One of the more eye-opening selections on the roster was FC Dallas winger Brek Shea, who has endured some trying times in recent months at both the club and international levels.

Shea was one of the biggest pinatas for the public following the U.S. U-23 team's failure to qualify for the Olympics back in March, and his form at FC Dallas this year has not come close to replicating the MVP caliber season he had in 2011. Still, Klinsmann sees a lot of potential in Shea and he wanted to bring him in to show the 22-year-old support through a rough stretch while also further integrating him into the U.S. team.

"'I had good conversations last weeks with Schellas Hyndman of FC Dallas," said Klinsmann. "We both see a lot of upside in Brek Shea and we all knew that after the big disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympics, that our youngsters from their program, will eventually fall into a hole. They will go through emotional roller coasters. This is what happened with Brek. He went through an emotional roller coaster.

"He didn't have himself under control in some cirucmstances. He thought he was further than he actually he is. People may be feeding him information that he's already there, which he's not, so both Schellas and I, we try and kind of go through all those elements and we think he needs now also our support, he needs the feeling that we are there also when things getting tough and things are tough for him similar to an [Juan] Agudelo, similar to a [Teal] Bunbury, similar to a Bill Hamid, similar to a Sean Johnson, this whole generation that should have been in London these last two weeks.

"That was a tough pill to swallow for them and now we are at a part where we have to integrate those players in our plans and give them playing time and give them possibilities to be close to the international level and close to their senior national team. …Getting back to Brek, he has to learn to focus in, he has to learn to be a full professional 24/7, he has to learn that the highest priority is what you deliver on the field, and he has to learn how to live off the field and he's in the middle of that process and we coaches we are responsible to help him in that process."


Are you still open to having Chandler on the U.S. team in the future? Which young player are you most looking forward to seeing versus Mexico? Agree with the decision to bring Shea back into the mix?

Share your thoughts below.

  • beachbum

    I’d like to see EJ get the call, never seen him playing better and with a more extended period of confidence. only bummer is he’s doing it for the Sounders :)

    I hope we see Gordon subbed in later in the game, give him 25-30 minutes to get after it the way he does, as he has been used in SJ a lot, and see if his physicalness and his game can translate effectively

    he can be a load, more so when others have tired late. he’s proven it in his MLS form this year. hope we see him get the chance in Azteca.


  • amh

    according to the article, chandler felt the trip to Mexico would be too tiring and that he was focused on his club team. Sounds like everyone’s got his own spin on this.


  • hogatroge

    Edu and Jermaine Jones have both played CB at the club level.

    Not saying we’ll see it happen (esp. since we need JJ in midfield), but we have options.


  • hogatroge


    Pontius takes the edge in current form (by far), but there’s no question that:

    1. Brek has more upsisde
    2. Brek has more international potential (size, foot skills, etc.)

    That said, after the USMNT core, Pontius would have been at the top of the list of new* faces for this camp/game.

    *I know he’s been in camp before.


  • hogatroge

    He’s just a kid–who’s dedicated most of his life to soccer and has dozens of snake oil salesmen (agents, coaches, etc.) whispering in his ear.

    Cut him a break. I’m disappointed that he is retracting his “commitment” to the US, but we haven’t been in his situation before.

    From that perspective, it’s completely understandable.


  • ignorant

    So…. in your tiny world, soccer goes on hold….. nothing else matters other than one month every 4 years. The world ain’t all or nothing… because the WC is the big-EST tournament, doesn’t mean others can not be big.


  • senior ignoramus

    Perhaps you need another 10,000 words to make your point…. wait…. I didn’t even make it through the first paragraph.


  • whoop-whoop

    Soccer imitates life. People, including my grandparents, have been switching national allegiance to this country for hundreds of years to take advantage of greater opportunity. I’m not sure why it comes as such a shock and seems so offensive when a soccer player does the same.


  • hudson

    Still no Lichaj call-up? This seems like it would’ve been a good game to bring him in with Cherundolo and Chandler not available. (Of course, they may be permanent for Chandler). Presumably the reason against is because Aston Villa is still i pre-season training. But that didn’t stop Klinsmann from calling in Cameron after his stoke deal went through. And Lichaj is arguably more fit than Cameron at this point.


  • pd

    And who exactly the heehaw are you to demand anything? Until we’re an 800 pound gorilla like Germany or Brasil we really shouldn’t be too hurt when players weigh their options. Not very Polly Anna I know, but a lot more like real life.


  • pd

    Yeah, I’m baffled about Lichaj as much as everyone else. But giving bettashure is time well spent, as is Shaynan Willyamsfrom fill-a-delfeeya.


  • Kevin_Amold

    You’re reasoning is exactly backward. When we’re a Brazil or Germany we won’t care who weighs their options because we have 3 other solid players at every position.


  • CrispyST3

    What if Klinsi and Low have already talked it out and agreed thhat Low will leave Chandler alone and Klinsi, knowing this, is being “patient” about it, but in reality he’s just waiting for chandler to realize that Germany isn’t going to call him up


  • Seriously

    The Olympics on the men’s side is not a big tournament. It is hardly a blip on the radar. Its a glorified youth tournament at best. The women’s game is another story, it basically works as a second World Cup because they play the senior sides and not some half-breed crap that is used in the men’s tourney.


  • jerry

    although Chandler is better than Lichaj, he wants to play for Germany Lichaj why I say there is a better choice to depend on someone


  • ben in el cajon

    Wow, biff, I’m not impressed by your wit, but I admire your passion. I was really only commenting on the statement about what people can do, and I think my last sentence shows that fans might be angry with him. That’s our right as fans, although I think we shouldn’t be childish about it.

    I doubt that you know what Chandler was thinking, however. While he might seem like a scheming jerk who was toying with your affections to impress someone else, he was probably confused, and trying to figure out himself and the word. These things happen, in soccer and in other sports.


  • bryan

    that is not the conversation. i’m simply pointing out that lichaj, right now, is not the better player. this has nothing to do if i like him or what his national obligations are.


  • GW

    As far as I can tell from the Birmingham papers,Lichaj is battling to maintain his position as first call sub at both fullback and center back positions in the Villa defense. And maybe if he does realy well he could win a starting job. He and the USMNT are better off with Eric staying in England to secure the best spot possible at Villa.

    Cameron is in a very different situation. It looks as if this call up may have been part of a deal made JK. Besides, as long as Huth is in the hospital, Cameron will have less competition for playing time at Stoke.


  • GW

    JK isn’t Brek’s dad and I doubt he feels responsible for his “fall”. That is strictly down to “Blondie”. He is the one who underperforemd with the Under 23’s.

    What Shea is going through is normal. JK has already invested quite a bit in Brek and it seems to me JK is just following up on his investment.


  • Northzax

    And when I was his age, I told my girlfriend I’d love her forever. Didn’t work out that way. Happens.


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