United States Soccer Cannot Afford to Lose Timothy Chandler to Germany
After being a virtually unknown player a year ago, Timothy Chandler has had one incredible year.
Chandler was able to make the transition from a reserve player for FC Nuremberg where he played in front of several hundred players to a spot on Nuremberg's team following the Bundesliga's winter break.
Following several stints as a substitute, Chandler started against Stuttgart. Chandler went on to score once and set up another in a 4-1 win.
Chandler went on to earn a callup for the United States three weeks after his start at Stuttgart. Chandler came in for the United States at the half in a friendly against Argentina and was one of the most impressive players on the pitch in the 1-1 draw.
Chandler then earned a start against Paraguay on his 21st birthday, playing nearly the entire match and was once again arguably the best American player on the pitch.
At the end of the season, Kicker Magazine named Chandler as the fourth best defensive player in the Bundesliga.
Chandler was supposed to play for the United States in the Gold Cup over the summer but did not play on the American roster in order to rest up for the new Bundesliga campaign.
Without Chandler, the United States lost to Mexico 4-2 in the Gold Cup final, losing out on a spot in the 2013 Confederations Cup. If Chandler had been on the roster, Jonathan Bornstein would not have replaced an injured Steve Cherundolo, allowing the Mexicans to make the American defense look like Swiss cheese.
Because Chandler did not play in the Gold Cup, he was able to keep his availability to play for the German national team open because he only appeared in friendlies.
However, Chandler did say after the tournament that he wanted to remain with the United States and had no intention to play for Germany.
Since the Gold Cup, Chandler has made two appearances under new manager and German legend Jurgen Klinsmann. However, Chandler has not looked sharp in either match, probably due to jet lag from traveling over 9,000 miles combined during a span just over week.
It did appear that Chandler seemed completely set that he would remain on the United States team for qualification for the 2014 World Cup and beyond.
But it now looks like we could see the end of Chandler in an American uniform.
According to a tweet by former American international Tony Sannah, German manager Joachim Löw visited Nurenburg's training ground to attempt to recruit Chandler to join the German national team.
The reason why Chandler could jump ship to join Germany is because Germany will play in Euro 2012 and are short on right backs. Having a player like Chandler on their side would be a huge plus considering their already strong chances of winning the tournament.
Chandler is also still not tied to the United States because he has not played in an official competition yet and will not be able to be tied to the United States until next summer at the earliest with the start of World Cup qualification.
The case of Chandler is somewhat similar to Borrusia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic deciding to leave the United States national team to play for Serbia. Subotic was part of the United States youth teams but left after having a falling out with his coach.
Now Chandler has not appeared to have a falling out with Klinsmann, but the loss of Timmy Chandler is something that the United States cannot face.
Chandler is a key player in what is an aging position for the Americans: right back. With the increasing age of Steve Cherundolo, the Yanks need to have a strong player to replace him in the near future. If Chandler were to stay on the national team, he would certainly start at right back once the 2014 World Cup begins.
However, losing Chandler will open the floodgates at the position, so much so that the United States could once again see a player that should not be on the roster start there in important international matches.
This loss would also hurt the development of the national team under Klinsmann. Since Klinsmann has taken over as manager of the national team, he has called up Chandler for three friendlies, with Chandler participating in the last two.
Chandler has repeatedly said that he wants to stay with the United States since he is on the "A team," but with Germany calling, the Yanks could face an upward climb to keep their future star.
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