- Earned Man of the Match honors in the Oct. 11 game against Ecuador
- Started the last five matches of the year at left back
- Made his debut for the U.S. National Team when he came in for the entire second half during the 1-1 draw with Argentina on March 26, 2011
- Made his debut for Nürnberg on Jan. 15, 2011, and scored his first goal on Feb. 12 against VfB Stuttgart
It has been a long and intense two-and-a-half week training camp for the U.S. Men’s National Team on the Campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Grueling fitness testing followed by the first of three Send-Off Series matches, which the U.S. won 2-0 against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, have been the focus for the squad that now consists of the final 23 players who will play at this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
For the players, the secluded collegiate setting was a welcome environment for the beginning of their final preparations ahead of the gauntlet of high-level competition and unyielding attention from media and fans that awaits. Some of the USA’s players who played college ball in the States were particularly fond of the experience.“It’s been nice, reminds me of the good old college days,” said midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who attended both Fairleigh Dickinson and Boston College during his collegiate career. “It makes me miss those days, being able to have lunch on campus with some of the students. We’ll sit next to them and have conversations with them. It’s been cool to take a break from the hard work and be able to relax with the students on campus.”
The countdown clock continues to tick as the May deadline for FIFA World Cup-bound nations to submit their preliminary 30-man tournament rosters draws ever closer. U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stating that, “The door remains open till the very last day,” for U.S. players in leagues all over the world, so the pressure to put in eye-catching performances increases with each match.
While, MLS-based players are gearing up for the domestic season, players abroad find themselves beginning their club campaigns in Mexico or cutting through the meat of seasons across Europe. With games taking place all over the globe from Friday night to Monday afternoon, Klinsmann and his staff will fan out across Europe to take in a couple games in person.
On Saturday, some of the coaches will pay a visit to Nurnberg to watch defender Timmy Chandler lace up his boots for a go-round with visiting Bayern Munich. GolTV will air the match live at 9:30 a.m. ET in the United States.
A second group will set up shop at St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, England, to check out Geoff Cameron and visiting Stoke City battle the Saints. The match will be available live on NBC Sports Live Extra at 10 a.m. ET.
Fans who wish to do some scouting of their own can check out the following list of games that will be broadcast in the United States this weekend, featuring up to 13 U.S. MNT players who will be looking to impress as the competition for a World Cup roster spot continues to heat up:
U.S. Men’s National Team on TV (all times ET) :
TIJUANA-MONTERREY (live) 10:30 p.m. (Liga MX)
Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, Herculez Gomez
NÜRNBERG-BAYERN MUNICH (live) 9:30 a.m. (Bundesliga)
NBC Sports Live Extra
SOUTHAMPTON-STOKE CITY (live) 10 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
ASTON VILLA-WEST HAM (live) 10 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
SUNDERLAND-HULL CITY (live) 10 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
TOTTENHAM-EVERTON (live) 8:30 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
USA NETWORK, mun2
MANCHESTER UNITED-FULHAM (live) 11 a.m. (Barclays Premier League)
PUEBLA-CHIVAS (live) 1 p.m. (Liga MX)
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco
SCHALKE-HANNOVER (live) 11:30 p.m. (Bundesliga)
NANTES-LYON (delay) 12:30 p.m. (League1)
If Timmy Chandler takes the field on Wednesday, he will officially be bound to the United States for the duration of his international career. Fans of the U.S. team will be thrilled, and Jurgen Klinsmann’s policy of “always leaving the door open” will have proved hugely successful.
The phrase you will read over and over again is that he is “cap-tied,” but what does that mean exactly, and why does it matter?
It starts with the fact that Chandler – like many others before him – is a dual citizen of the United States and another country (in this case, Germany). Any player who has dual citizenship can choose to play for either country, but at a certain point he will be committed to only one. Here’s how:
If a player represents one country at the senior team level in an official competition (such as a World Cup qualifier), then they no longer have the ability to play for the other country. If they play in a friendly competition for one country, they can apply to FIFA for a one-time change of association. The first example for the United States was Jermaine Jones, who had represented Germany at the senior team level in friendly matches.
There is one catch to the change of association: Once you change, you can never go back.
There are different rules that apply if a player has represented one country at the youth international level, meaning Under-23 and below. If that player appeared in an official competition (such as the Olympics, a U-20 World Cup, etc.), they can apply to FIFA for a change of association as long as they were a citizen of both countries at the time they represented the first one. A good example in this case is Fabian Johnson, who won the U-21 European Championship with Germany. Because he was a citizen of Germany and the United States at the time of the tournament, he was still eligible to switch.
If a player only appeared in a friendly competition at the youth international level, then no change of association is required and they remain eligible to play for either country.
This gets us back to Timmy Chandler. Born to an American serviceman and a German mother, Chandler claimed citizenship for both countries and played for youth national teams in Germany in friendly competition, so he stayed eligible for either country. Check.
Chandler has played for the U.S. nine times in friendly games at the senior team level, beginning against Argentina in 2011. Since he has not played in any official games since then, he could still apply for a change of association to play for the Germany senior team. If he steps on the field against Honduras, that all ends and we have him forever – or as long as the coach keeps picking him!
Now what made Chandler eligible to be a U.S. citizen in the first place is a whole other story. We’re just happy to have him …
A name that stands out on the U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the upcoming friendly against Russia is Timmy Chandler. The Nuremberg-based defender has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the USA since earning his first cap March 16, 2011, against Argentina and has been open about the uncertainty of his desire to play international football. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has expressed an open door policy for Chandler and has been willing to give the defender space to make his own choice. According to Chandler, his soul searching has led to a decision.
ussoccer.com: The first question on many people’s minds will be: Why now?
Timmy Chandler: “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.”
ussoccer.com: What were some of the issues you felt were holding you back from being fully committed?
TC: “I was a young player trying to get settled into my club team and wasn’t sure about the long travel and everything that goes into being a part of this National Team. My coaches didn’t like the idea, so I think even I felt some pressure. I’ve had a chance to get settled in with the club and also have grown up a lot. I know what I want to do.”
ussoccer.com: What are your emotions now being back in with the team?
TC: “I’m excited to be back as a part of the group. This is a great group of guys. I hope they accept me back into the team. I’m very happy to be here.”
ussoccer.com: Given what has transpired in the last two years, there may be some people who are skeptical of your commitment to the U.S. team at this point?
TC: “I understand that a lot of people in the USA may be unsure because they think I have said [I’m committed] in the past. All I can say is that I am clear in my head about the commitment moving forward. This was about me being ready to accept the responsibility of being a part of the National Team and everything that goes with it, and now I am ready. I hope I will get chances in the future. I am in 1,000 percent.”
ussoccer.com: Have you been following the U.S. team?
TC: “I’ve watched a lot of the games and followed also on the internet. They have done a great job in the qualification so far. You can see that the games aren’t easy.”
ussoccer.com: There are several other German-Americans playing in the Bundesliga. Have you been staying in contact?
TC: “I have been in contact with Jermaine Jones and Danny Williams and they have told me about what’s been going on in these games. We talked about my situation as well, but the most important thing has been the team.”
ussoccer.com: What was the most important factor in the decision process on your end to take this opportunity again?
TC: “I thought about all the times I had been with the team and they were really good experiences for me. I spoke a lot with Jurgen and I could see he wanted me to be a part of the team. That was very important. I am excited about the chance to represent the United States.”
U.S. Men’s National Team Roster Announcement
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann
Nov. 12, 2012 – Frankfurt, Germany
On how he views the progress of the team in 2012:
Jurgen Klinsmann: “I think we can take a lot of positives from this year. It’s been a very successful year, but also a year of transition. We introduced new players and young players into the group. We have a bit of a different approach than before my time. We got to know each other a lot more throughout all those games. I really think that we are developing a style that suits us and that the players are enjoying. Overall, we are excited about the upcoming year ahead. It’s going to be a big year.”
On the ways the team has improved this year:
JK: “One thing is the technical game on the field. We are improving the way we push the whole game into the opponent’s half, keeping the ball, playing out of the back, and here and there putting high pressure on the opponents. Obviously, we are trying to build more belief in what we’re doing by going into big nations and trying to beat them. It happened in Italy for the first time ever, and then in Mexico at Estadio Azteca in August. Those results give you more confidence and a sense that if you can beat those teams and go eye-to-eye with them, you are on the right track.”
On the situation with Timmy Chandler:
“Timmy was always committed to the team. With his dual citizenship situation and having a choice, it’s a big, big decision. Timmy is maturing now. He’s becoming a better pro and a more mature player, and he knows now that once he makes the final decision that’s going to be his life. So I don’t want to put any pressure in a situation like that. The choice should come from the player. Obviously, there comes a time when there is no time left, and he knows that. We are thrilled that he is now back in the group. The group welcomed him with open arms. He gives us quality on our roster. He’s maturing in the Bundesliga and he’s one of the best players in Nuremberg. It’s good to have him when we play one of the best teams in Europe.”
On the decision to bring Jozy Altidore to the match against Russia:
“We are happy having Jozy back in the group. Obviously, he was left out of the last games against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala because of the way he played in Jamaica and maybe a couple other things from the previous months that I wasn’t so happy about. I mentioned it to him, and now having him back in the group gives us an opportunity to talk through that stuff and also to see his total commitment on the field. He’s an important player for us. He’s fighting his way through the Dutch league and doing well there, and we hope he brings the same energy into our group. We often forget that Jozy is not a 30-year-old player that you already expect to be kind of perfect and mature. He’s still going through ups and downs, which is totally normal. So when a down period comes and I leave him out of the roster, that’s not the end of the world. But it’s also a little signal to say ‘Hey Jozy, maybe there were things we didn’t like before.’ Now we can catch up and see how it goes.”
On choosing to play against Russia, which is currently ranked No. 9 in the world:
“We ask for these games because they are big learning curves for us. Playing in Italy, in Mexico and in Russia – we are not the favorites there. For us, we can take a lot from the games no matter how the result ends up. But still we want to go there and beat Russia knowing that it’s one of the top teams in Europe at the moment. In World Cup qualifying they are 4-0, so that’s not going to be an easy task. We need to measure ourselves against the best teams out there and build even more confidence. We want to close the year in a very positive way and then go into a busy 2013 that includes World Cup qualifying, the Gold Cup and some exciting friendlies.”
On having to play in big matches with different rosters and how that helps the team develop:
“Winning in Italy, we did it with a roster that maybe wasn’t the best on paper. It was the same in Mexico when we missed key players, and it’s the same now for Russia. For us the most important thing is that we grow as a group. We need more players in the bigger picture because we play so much in the coming year, so whoever goes to Russia and is part of that game will take a lot of benefits out of it. The biggest benefit you could have is to beat them. I think that more and more the players get the sense that they are ready for bigger challenges and bigger goals. They have to set those goals for themselves. Every individual player has to tell himself they want to get to the next level, and games like this can get you there.”
On calling in several younger players to the roster:
“Calling in players like Mix Diskerud, Joe Gyau and Joshua Gatt is a clear signal to this generation of players that we are watching you, follow you, and want to help you get to the next level. This is a first taste for them and what it means to be with the senior National Team. They can train alongside guys like Timmy Howard, Jermaine Jones and Carlos Bocanegra and say ‘I want to get to this level.’ It’s also really an opportunity for them to come in, get accepted right away and show what they can do. Maybe they will even get some minutes in the game against Russia. It also means for them that they go back to their clubs with bigger expectations. We will tell them that now we expect you to become starters in your club team, break through there and get even hungrier. So it’s important that we give these guys the opportunity to join us.”