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Chandlertimothy_isi_usmnttq(r)032920116051 Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com
1

MNT vs. Costa Rica: Mixed Zone—Sept. 2, 2011

Timothy Chandler

  • DOB March 29, 1990
  • Age 24
  • Place of birth Frankfurt, Germany
  • POSITION Defender
  • HEIGHT 6'1"
  • WEIGHT 180
  • U.S. CAPS 8
  • CLUB Nürnberg
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 27
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 26

Will he or won’t he? Is he or isn’t he? To American soccer fans, Timothy Chandler is both a source of frustration and an unhappy reminder that America is still a soccer minnow when compared with a powerhouse like Germany.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, to a German mother and an American father who served in the U.S. military, Chandler grew up in Germany and developed a talent for soccer. After spending some time in the youth squads for Eintracht Frankfurt and Nuremberg, Chandler made his Bundesliga debut for Nuremberg in January 2011 and hasn’t looked back. A pacey fullback who likes to push forward in the attack, Chandler has established himself as a first-team regular at Nuremberg and one of the more promising young players in Germany.

Chandler’s international soccer career, on the other hand, is a bit of a mess. Former U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley gave Chandler his first cap in March 2011, and at the time the youngster seemed thrilled with the opportunity.

“I have always wanted to play for the U.S. team,” Chandler told U.S. Soccer at the time. “I like this team and how they play. I used to come here on vacation with my family, and always when I have followed the World Cup my heart has been with the USA.”

Given these (and other) comments, and given the subsequent appearances Chandler made for the U.S. in the months that followed, it seemed as though he was fully on board with the Stars and Stripes. But Chandler proved to be a bit cagier than most expected. He opted out of the 2011 Gold Cup—a tournament that would have locked him in as a U.S. international—saying that he was “tired.” Many eyebrows were raised at the time, but the controversy, such as it was, died down fairly quickly.

After the Gold Cup, and after Jurgen Klinsmann replaced Bradley, Chandler once again accepted a series of call-ups from the U.S. national team. Chandler performed well and won regular playing time. It seemed as though the Gold Cup kerfuffle was just a blip—something that everybody wanted to put in the rearview mirror.

But then it happened again. In May 2012 Klinsmann called Chandler in for two World Cup qualifiers against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala. Chandler turned him down, this time saying he needed to “take a break.” As with the Gold Cup, if Chandler were to play in a World Cup qualifier he would be tied to the U.S. and prevented from ever playing for the German national team. And, sure enough, Chandler did it again in September—refusing to play for the U.S. in two qualifiers against Jamaica.

It's unclear whether Chandler is ready to commit to the United States or not. He has eight caps for the U.S. and none for Germany. In fact, there is little to suggest that Germany even considers Chandler an attractive prospect. Perhaps he realized as much. In November, Chandler traveled with the team to Krasnodar for its friendly against Russia and played the entire match. It was his first cap this year. He said he was "in 1,000 percent" and that “I spent a lot of time thinking this over. I have had many conversations with Jurgen, my family, my girlfriend and the people close to me, and I finally feel ready to make the commitment," but what happens next is anybody’s guess.—JOHN GODFREY

Klinsmann on Chandler:
“In Timothy Chandler you have a highly talented player who is growing into the left back position. And still he's a raw talent. He still has to learn a lot of things. He knows that. And there's a lot of upside in his game that can develop. But for right now, he has that starting position. It's his. And he's moving along in that process." (November 2011)

“I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football. He has expressed his appreciation for all the opportunities we have given him, but he also feels at this point he needs to take a break. It’s disappointing not having him as a part of the team at this important juncture of building our team, but ultimately a player must decide what is best for him. The door is certainly not closed on Timmy, but in the moment we move on without him.” (May 2012)

Noteworthy Reads

Chandler Excited to Get to Work at First National Team Camp (USSoccer.com)
Q&A with Timmy Chandler (USSoccer.com)
Chandler Sends Clear Message to USMNT (Fox Soccer)
Chandler Hungry for More (Bundesliga.com)
AmericanSoccerNow.