Timmy Chandler's lengthy absence from the U.S. national team appears to have come to an end.
According to the website of his club, FC Nurnberg, Chandler has been called into the USA squad for Wednesday's friendly against Russia in Krasnodar, marking his first chance to play for Jurgen Klinsmann since last November's friendly at Slovenia.
Chandler, a German-American dual-national and a dynamic right back with potential to play on the left and in the midfield as well, was last called up for by Klinsmann for the February friendly against Italy, but he withdrew with what U.S. Soccer called a hamstring strain. He was then omitted from the USA roster for the friendlies and World Cup qualifiers in May and June, with Klinsmann revealing that the player was non-committal about his international future and claiming that he has more focused on his club career than his international prospects.
"I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said upon his roster release in May. "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."
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To Klinsmann's credit, he has maintained a stance since then that the door would not be completely shut on Chandler, but that it was on the player to make the decision sooner rather than later.
“I’m in contact with him," Klinsmann said in a conference call with reporters last week. "I always told him to take it at his pace. It’s similar to Landon [Donovan]. They have to make their own decisions sooner or later and they will do that. Timmy knows that. He is going through learning years in the Bundesliga. I’m in touch with his coach as well. He is maturing. He is getting more experience and he’s getting more focused. We are in touch, and we respect his decision so far that he was not part of the qualifiers, but the World Cup is coming along pretty soon. We’re already going into 2013, so it’s totally up to him how fast the decision on his end will be made.”
Despite being a part of the U.S. set-up for since March, 2011, when he made his U.S. debut against Argentina, Chandler is still not cap-tied to the USA, and playing in a friendly against Russia would not accomplish that. Participating in a World Cup qualifier this year, though, would add him to a list of German-Americans who have committed to the U.S. set-up, one that includes Terrence Boyd, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones.
It is worth noting that clubs of Americans abroad have jumped the gun on USA roster announcements before. Just this past September, Bolton announced that center back Tim Ream was called in for World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica and Antigua & Barbuda, only for Klinsmann to reveal that Ream was on a provisional roster and did not make the final cut.
Klinsmann is expected to make his official roster announcement for the friendly after this weekend's club matches, either on Sunday or Monday, when it is known for sure whether Chandler will make his USA return and perhaps dedicate himself to the USA set-up going forward after a lengthy soap opera.
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