U.S. Men's National Team

Americans Abroad Spotlight: Chandler still open to USMNT despite club focus

Timmy Chandler Nurnberg (FCN)

Photo courtesy of FC Nurnberg


It has been almost a year since Timmy Chandler last played for the U.S. men's national team and although he has turned down a number of recent call-ups due to injuries or fatigue, the talented youngster insists he is still open to representing the United States in the near future.

Despite not suiting up for the U.S. team since last November's friendly win over Slovenia, and even with him rejecting cap-tying matches throughout the year, Chandler insists he is still interested in playing for the United States. The 22-year-old right back maintains that FC Nurnberg are currently his first priority, but he is not opposed to getting called into thenext USMNT camp, which will take place next month ahead of two cap-tying World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala and Antigua & Barbuda.

"I'm still happy to play for the U.S. national team but right now I want to commit 100 percent to Nurnberg and stay here with the team during this time," Chandler told SBI through a translator. "But in October and until the rest of the year there are enough games for the national team and if [U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann] still wants to invite me, there's still an opportunity I'll play."

Chandler admitted that he does stay in contact with Klinsmann on a regular basis and he also said the two talked in the days leading up to the U.S. team's September camp. Chandler did not go in detail about was discussed, nor if the conversation was about a call-up or just as a means to keep a line of communication open between the two.

Why then has he been so reluctant to play for the United States?

Chandler explains that part of the reason is due to his commitment to Nurnberg, the club that gave him his first chance as a professional, but he also does not shy away from his dislike of the heavy travel that typically comes with playing for the U.S. team.

"It's always a great experience to see other cities and play for the U.S. national team," said Chandler. "The only thing I don't like about it is the traveling."

"That is a part of it and I use the example of the (recent) Mexico game. For four days I would have had to travel to Mexico and back, right when the season started here, so yes that is part of it."

Regardless of his reasoning (Chandler cited the need for rest either before or in the aftermath of both instances), American fans are, by all accounts, unhappy with the fullback's apparent lack of commitment to the U.S. jersey. Chandler is equally not pleased with their discontentment, but he believes there is not much that can be done about that situation right now.

"Obviously, I'm not happy if they think like this," said Chandler. "But they're not in my head, they don't know how I feel about it, so there's not much I can do about it."

Chandler also downplayed the notion that he has spoken to or is waiting to hear from the German National team, though he stopped short of saying unequivocally that he would never play for Germany.

"There has still been no contact from the German federation," said Chandler. "I've always spoken openly about everything with Klinsmann. The only thing is that I want to concentrate on Nurnberg right now."

In terms of World Cup aspirations, Chandler does want to play in the 2014 competition in Brazil. It would be the latest career accomplishment for him should he get there, but Chandler knows it is not completely in his hands, even if he says he is still 'totally open to playing for the United States.'

"I am thinking about (the World Cup), but I just want to see how the next few weeks and months go along," said Chandler, "and if Klinsmann still wants to invite me, we'll see about that."

Aside from his international standing, Chandler is also in the midst of another season with Nurnberg. He reportedly received interest from VfB Stuttgart earlier this year, but opted to re-sign with Nurnberg this past spring on a deal that runs through 2015 to demonstrate his loyalty to them.

"I wanted to show that Nurnberg is one of the bigger teams of the Bundesliga and it was a decision of the heart," said Chandler. "I wanted to show Nurnberg that I'm thankful for what I've achieved in my time with the team so far."

The current season got off to a poor start for Nurnberg and Chandler, as they suffered a shocking 3-2 extra time loss to fourth division club Havelse in the first round of DFB Pokal. It was a wake-up call for Chandler and his club, and they responded by grabbing two key results.

Nurnberg began the Bundesliga campaign by first beating Hamburg SV, 1-0, and they proceeded to tie with defending champions Borussia Dortmund, 1-1. 

"We started well with four points against good teams in Hamburg and Dortmund and we want to gain 40 points that will keep us in the league as soon as we can," said Chandler. "We will try to keep going the way we started (the league)."

Playing in the Bundesliga does not just give Chandler a chance to get consistent minutes for the club he thinks so fondly of. It also gives him a chance to talk to fellow German-Americans such as Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams about how the U.S. team is doing.

"I still am in contact with all of them, texting on the phone, when we meet in league games," said Chandler. "That doesn't depend on me being invited to the national team or being there. We're in contact and yes we talk about the U.S. team as well when they do."

Chandler's relationships with his U.S. teammates, and his professed affection for playing for the United States suggests that Chandler is a player who plans on being a U.S. men's national team fixture for years to come. That still isn't likely to ease fears that Chandler is secretly holding out to play for Germany.

The only thing that will ease those fears and re-establish Chandler as a future U.S. star is if and when Chandler plays in a World Cup qualifier, which would tie him to the U.S. team permanently. His next chance, and perhaps his last chance, to do that will come in October.

  • biff

    I pose the following scenario to those of your who want to keep the door open to Chandler indefinitely. Let’s say that in May of 2014 Chandler has not yet been either capped by the USA or called up by Germany, and poor Timmy finally and sadly decides to give up on a phone call from Jogi Low. Timmy reluctantly telephones his buddy Jurgen Klinsmann and says he wants to commit to the USMNT so he can play in World Cup 2014.

    My Questions: Do you invite Timmy to participate in WC 2014, meaning that you would have to ax a man from the squad who has played his heart out for the months or years to help the USMNT qualify and whose dream has always been to represent the USA in the World Cup? Would you want to look that man in the eye when you tell him you are replacing him with Timmy Chandler? How do you think the axed man’s teammates would feel? Would it be good for locker room morale?

    If you feel, that Timmy deserves an open invitation and Teddy-Bear treatment because he is special and so great, then fine. But if you feel that it would not be fair to the axed player or to his teammates or to the fans, then the next question is deciding at what point during the WC 2014 cycle the door to an indecisive Timmy Chandler should closed. February 2014? Autumn 2013? June 2013? February 2013. Is this sort of uncertainty good for the team? How long can Klinsmann let this drag on without losing the respect of his players and the USMNT fans?

    Do you think that maybe it would make sense to all involved to give poor Timmy a friendly irrevocable ultimatum in October 2012–a point of no return? And if he declines the invitation tell him: “Fine. Good luck with Jogi. We will now prepare for WC 2014 without your distraction and with players whose hearts are 100% committed to the USMNT and are willing to sacrifice (and travel) for the shirt. Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Chandler.” And then the door could ceremoniously be slammed in his face?

    All that said, it is possible that the damage from Chandler’s broken promise is already done and a majority of USMNT players already are fed up with him and the door to him should be closed now. Would be interesting to be a fly on the wall and hear what the guys say about him when reporters–and Klinsmann–are not around.


  • Josh

    IIRC, Dennis Bergkamp had a fear of flying, and would take the train to Arsenal’s away matches.


  • biff

    Just want to add, my personal opinion is these Jamaica WCQs should have been Chandler’s last chance to accept an invitation and get cap-tied and that by not accepting he should not be invited again in this WC2014 cycle. We don’t need no prima donnas who don’t want to fly to play in Mexico friendly or WCQs in June and now September but who will miraculously have enough energy to fly to Brazil in the summer of 2014. Timmy doesn’t want to pay his dues, wants the current USMNT members to do the hard grunt work of getting qualified and then he wants the glory of playing in the World Cup with them–but only if Germany does not call.


  • Andrew

    Could not have said it better MidWest Ref!!!!!I am PROUD to call this my team. All I want is people playing with heart, passion and desire to represent the Stars and Stripes!


  • Bruno

    Why so much attention to this guy?

    From the games I have seen, he isn’t that good. Let him do what he wants.


  • wva97

    Open letter to Tim Chandler:

    Tim – you’re 22. You are young enough to travel to Mexico and back in four days and cope. What will happen when you’re 25 or 29 and asked to do the same? It doesn’t get easier chief.


  • Jamie

    How about this-FIFA’s international policy is outdated and doesn’t reflect the integrated world we live in today. Forcing individuals of multiple nationalities to declare that they are only one does not accurately reflect how many of these individuals feel. If I am Kenyan-Canadian, have lived parts of my life in both countries, have parents born in each country, why should I have to choose only one? Why am I bound to only one national team when players can play for four club teams in four years if they want? It would mean the world to me to be able to pay homage to both sides of my family, to both the places I have lived. I am not any more Kenyan than I am Canadian, or vice-versa. FIFA’s rules are lax enough now where there fears about mercenaries are already coming true, why punish those of us who have no ill intentions in the process? If FIFA is worried about players killing the innocence of the international game (which is already killed), why not institute safeguards? Put in minimum amounts of time between when a player can play for two teams, etc. It’s just outdated.


  • happyjuggler0

    I agree, and I would also add that communication and comfort between players in the back line is important in general, and is critical in noise deafening environments like the World Cup and the Hex.

    Time is wasting away….


  • Cairo

    All I see when I read this article is two quick and skilled international quality outside backs running up and down the flanksfor the US. These guys (Johnson and chandler) would make the entire team better, and for potentially two cycles! There is still time to commit and show he cares, and we know he is pretty good. If committed I would rather have Chandler than lichaj by a wide margin. Forgive and forget is the international language of success in soccer…


  • Robert Daniels

    My mom is Korean, my dad American and I would never choose Korea over the US, it’d be the same if she was from Spain.


  • Robert Daniels

    Germany has said repeatedly that they aren’t interested in German nationals that have represented other nations when asked about Chandler. They’re never going to call him up unless they’re desperate even though they’re not that deep at right back.


  • jones

    We all know this, so really, he should not be surprised by the backlash. He has shown a lack of commitment to the team on several occasions (so we should be grateful when he gives us the time of day??). Many other guys would love to get a chance to play, so his behavior comes off as insulting. And all of the players there make similar sacrifices – he sounds a bit aloof.


  • jones

    I mean, LOL:

    “‘Obviously, I’m not happy if they think like this,’ said Chandler. ‘But they’re not in my head, they don’t know how I feel about it….'”

    …oh snap! He’s all “you don’t know me.” BS.


  • mikeandike

    all the emotion aside, if he did suit up for the USMNT, his body of work and continued improvement would be a big help-we don’t have many players of his caliber. We can hate the players, but not the game, he can play and we could definitely use him.

    THAT SAID, he needs to earn his way back and beat out whoever’s in front of him actually showing up and dedicating their time to USMNT today…


  • Benny

    “I predict we end up getting him, and once he’s cap-tied, we won’t see anymore of this refusing callups nonsense.”

    I agree 100%.


  • Benny

    “THAT SAID, he needs to earn his way back and beat out whoever’s in front of him actually showing up and dedicating their time to USMNT today…”

    As soon he says, “I do” to the USA, he will beat out whoever is in front of him. That’s the way it’s just going to be.


  • soccerhorn

    I’ll answer politely. BeIn Sport is a new provider owned by, wait for it…. Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera bought the rights to the CONCACAF WC prelims from Jamaica. All the home teams have the rights to their home games. Jamaica contracted out their home games to Al Jazeera, aka BeIn Sports. beIn has only been around for a short time in the Western Hemisphere, and so far has only cut deals with DirecTV and Comcast. So if you have either if those two providers, call them tomorrow and maybe the can hook you up with BeIn. Or maybe not. Don’t hold your breath.

    The good news is that the Tuesday game v Jamaica is in the US and will be televised.


  • Quen047

    Chandler has never lived in the US. He’s spent his whole life in Germany. It is normal that he would rather play for Germany than the US if he can.


  • Truman

    That is might be right,if he stays in Nurnberg,he never get the chance to play for the DFB….just take a look at the actually situation and the 23 players,they are going to play for Germany in the next few months. They are all from Bayern Munich and Dortmund(the last champion) one is playing in Rome and one in London and that`s the fact….So,give him a chance,he is just 22 years old and on a very good way to become a very good U.S. Teamplayer


  • Brett

    “Still open” only because Germany hasn’t reached out to him yet.

    I’m done caring at this point. We’ve got no shortage of promising players who WANT to play for the USMNT. Players that would kill for a call-up.


  • Jerrod

    Didn’t sound too harsh to me, in fact it conveyed my thoughts pretty accurately. I love him as a player but until he commits, I don’t think much about himm


  • patrick

    michale bradley, jurgen klinsmann, cherundolo, jermaine jones, danny williams fabian johnson and probably others, all speak Fluent german. in fact, I recall some of the german pkayers asking the team to speak MORE english so they could learn/practice


  • Greek American

    That has to be the dumbest thing ive ever heard. The reason you are tied to one nation is because players shouldnt be able to just play a world cup for one nation then another.. The international game is all about playing for a nation for pride and if you represent multiple nations you have little loyalty. People will start being like well im not good enough for Italy so ill just play for US this year.. That would be crazy and foolish


  • Hank

    I don’t blame Timmy for keeping his options open. He is a German kid who happens to be American also. As long as he is totally committed to the US if/when he decides to get cap tied to us, that is all that matters to me.


  • Wunderbar

    Chandler is a great player and makes the team better!! I hope he comes back to play for the USA. I agree with others though that if he does not play in qualifiers he should not be invited to the WC.


  • Pingback: According to Nuremberg, Chandler set for USMNT return | Soccer By Ives

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