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USMNT: Who are ya?

Nurnberg's Rising Star

Timothy Chandler, that’s who.

With March friendlies fast approaching for the national team against South American powers Argentina and Paraguay in advance of this summer’s Gold Cup, debate about potential roster call ups will soon reach fever pitch and Chandler’s is a name we should all get to know. In this age of media attention where those who follow the Nats are quick to anoint any youngster who shows a flash of ability as the next great American Superstar, Chandler has flown completely under the radar.

In fact, it wasn’t until a summer 2010 transfer from the youth ranks of Eintracht Frankfurt to FC Nurnberg that Chandler began to cause any ripples in the US. Born to an American serviceman and a German mother, Chandler grew up in Germany after his parents split and at age 20 has quickly ascended through the German ranks.

While in Frankfurt, Chandler operated from a holding midfield role (not at all what the US needs at the moment), but Nurnberg manager Dieter Hecking took the 6′-1″ rangy youngster and slid him to right fullback where his size and skill on the ball have immediately paid dividends for the Bundesliga outfit, who now sit sixth in the Bundesliga table, one spot behind giants Bayern Munich. Despite his stature, Chandler possesses quick feet and strong distribution skills and is a well-rounded player at fullback.

After only 17 appearances for the reserve team, Chandler made his Bundesliga debut against Freiburg in January and had to wait just four matches before he struck for both his first top flight goal and assist in a 4-1 victory over Stuttgart. Since his introduction into the team, Chandler has made the right back spot his own, starting his last four matches after coming on as a substitute in the five prior.

Chandler’s prospects as USMNT right back are promising

Mentoring from Dieter Hecking

With Steve Cherundolo reaching the end of his international playing career, the emergence of both Chandler and Chicago-native Eric Lichaj (currently on loan with Leeds United from Aston Villa and playing maximum minutes) as future right back prospects should bring calm to American fans the world over. While Chandler is the larger of the two, both play with a combination of strength and skill that will serve the US well in the future.

In CONCACAF, the US finds itself required to field sides very different in nature to those who don the red, white and blue during major international tournaments. The knock down, drag out World Cup qualifiers are often backyard brawls on pock-marked pitches that are far from resembling any of the competition the US meets outside of the region. It is critical to the development of the national program to incorporate youngsters with both the pedigree to attack and control the ball and the toughness to deal with rough tackles, gamesmanship and hostile environments.

Bradley needs to call Chandler up to affirm his desire to play for the US

Full of attacking prowess

While Chandler has expressed the desire to play for the United States over Germany (where he is also eligible), nothing has been set in stone and it will suit Bob Bradley to bring him in for an early look, and possibly a debut, in order to make him a part of the National Team setup and insure his fervor to play amongst the Americans does not waiver.

Both Chandler and Lichaj represent a new wave of young, American talent who have never set foot on an MLS pitch and have honed their craft overseas. And, unlike Jermaine Jones and the 1998 disaster that was David Regis, Chandler is a foreign-born player at the beginning of what looks to be a promising career. Timothy Chandler is certainly a name to keep tabs on and hopefully one to become part of the foundation of the next generation of the US Mens National Team.

Note: At Nurnberg, Chandler follows in the footsteps of another big, strong, American fullback, Tony Sanneh. Sanneh made 52 appearances for the club during which time he was a national team fixture, earning himself an admirable 43 caps.

4 Comments

  1. I cannot wait to see Chandler in action on the National Team. His confidence on the ball will be a great addition to the back line.

  2. Great article!, I completely agree with you, Bradley needs to start rounding up the young talent that is playing abroad and get this World Cup cycle going, there are quite a few American born talents that go unheard of like Timothy Chandler. There needs to be more media coverage on these American talents that are abroad so USMNT followers know what the US has as possiblities to field in the Gold Cup and build a solid team for Brazil 2014!

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