Chandler Excited To Get To Work at First National Team Camp
Timmy Chandler has had a whirlwind year. After signing with the reserves at Nürnberg and expecting a slow integration into the team, an opportunity to train with the first team transformed into a regular starting role in the Bundesliga. Unbeknownst to those across the pond, the son of an American military father and a German mother also harbored a dream of playing for the United States. An unexpected phone call from a former player led Chandler down a path that has landed him in Cary, N.C., and a chance to fulfill his dream.
March 22, 2011
© U.S. Soccer
ussoccer.com: Tell us about your background.
Timmy Chandler: “I was born in Frankfurt. My father is from New York and was in Germany with the U.S. military. We lived in New York for three years, but then we returned to Frankfurt and I have lived there ever since.”
ussoccer.com: How did you wind up at Nürnberg?
TC: “When I was 11, I began playing with Eintracht Frankfurt and I stayed for nine years. Last year when I realized I would not be moving up to the first team, I canceled my contract. Nürnberg had tried to get me in the winter before, and in the summer we spoke again. I was approached by the reserve team coach, and I saw that the first team gave a lot of opportunities to younger players, so I decided to sign a one-year contract. I played three months with the reserve team before I got promoted, and now I have signed a new deal.”
ussoccer.com: How did you get promoted to the first team so quickly?
TC: “I was playing for the reserves and had some good games, so I was given a chance to train with the first team for a week. The coach gives a lot of young players a chance to show how they can play. At the end, the coach said he wanted to keep me. My first game was in the German Cup, the next week I played my first Bundesliga match against Freiburg, and the following week I had a goal and assist against Stuttgart. Ever since then I’ve been starting. It’s been great.”
ussoccer.com: Did it come as a surprise?
TC: “Yes. When I was with the reserves, the coach told me they were going to move me along slowly and that in the winter I could go and train with the first team. After only three months I was moved up.”
ussoccer.com: You have said previously that you wanted to play for the U.S. team. How come?
TC: “I have always wanted to play for the U.S. team. 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.”
ussoccer.com: How did you learn that you were being watched by the U.S.?
TC: “Tony Sanneh [who used to play at Nürnberg] called me and asked if I was interested in playing for the U.S. team. Then, [U.S. Assistant Coach] Lubos Kubik came to training and we spoke for a bit. I gave him my number, and then I heard from Bob Bradley. He asked me if I was interested in playing for the U.S. and told me to think about it. I told him that I definitely wanted to play for the United States, and then I received the invitation.”
ussoccer.com: What was your reaction when you got the call?
TC: “I was very, very happy. I told my mom. She screamed she was so happy. Everything happened so fast. First I get to the Bundesliga quickly, and then soon after, I get a call from the national team coach. Last year I am watching guys like Tim Howard and Landon Donovan on TV, and now I am getting the chance to play with them.”
ussoccer.com: What was your feeling coming into camp?
TC: “A little bit nervous. In Germany when you are a younger player, you stay quiet, so when I came here at first I did the same thing. Everyone was very friendly and the training was good, so I’m feeling better. I feel very welcome. You feel like these players have known you for a year, not just for one day. I’m having a lot of fun.”
ussoccer.com: How did you feel when you put on the U.S. shirt for the first time?
TC: “It’s unbelievable. When I got the gear yesterday for the first time, I called my mom and told her I was now wearing the U.S. kit. Now I just want to get to know everyone in the group and show them that I can play good football.”