USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made his roster callups for the squad’s summer friendly against Scotland on May 26. Twenty-seven players will train in camp located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando before Klinsmann picks 23 players to travel up to Jacksonville for the Scotland match.
As per usual, a number of players from Bundesliga clubs have been invited to the Florida camp. Headed by Hannover captain Steve Cherundolo, the callups from German clubs also include the versatile Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams from Hoffenheim, Hertha Berlin’s Alfredo Morales, Schalke veteran Jermaine Jones and young Terrence Boyd of Borussia Dortmund. Boyd earns his second inviteto the American squad despite not yet playing for Dortmund’s championship senior side. The 6’2″ forward did score 20 goals for Dortmund’s reserve side, earning them promotion to 3. Liga for next season.
“All the players coming now for this very special four-week period represent our core,” said Klinsmann. There is, however, one highly desired Bundesliga player missing from May’s USMNT roster — Nürnberg right back Timothy Chandler, who has earned eight caps for the Americans since March, 2011.
Commentary: A Chandler Mystery
Chandler, who just turned 22 in March, did receive an invite to this May’s camp, but declined, saying that he wanted to “take a break” according to Klinsmann. Despite his avowed allegiance to represent for the Red, White and Blue, this isn’t the first time Chandler has refused a U.S. invitation, to the consternation of American fans upon whom Chandler has made such an otherwise favorable impression, whether featuring at right back, left back (a historically weak spot in the U.S. lineup) or even right wing. His absence from the Scotland friendly would indicate that the Frankfurt-born Chandler may not be interested in being tied to the American team as the club moves towards 2014 World Cup qualifiers beginning June 8th following the Scotland match (and subsequent friendlies with Brazil and Canada during an intense ten-day period). Chandler’s participation in the World Cup qualifiers would tie him to the U.S. for the rest of his international career. He is not currently tied to any nation per FIFA rules because he has only played in friendly matches for the Americans.
Concerning Chandler, Klinsmann had this to say in a May 15th interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football,”
Klinsmann said Tuesday.
“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.”
In avoiding a permanent commitment to the U.S. Chandler still remains a possibility for a future callup to the German National Team, currently preparing for the upcoming 2012 Euro tournament that kicks off June 8th. Chandler has never publicly stated that he’s interested in playing for Germany, nor has German Coach Jogi Löw, Klinsmann’s assistant during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, commented concerning Chandler’s possible future with the German national side, but the powerhouse German side does represent the country that Chandler was born and grew up in, the language he speaks and the culture he knows. Whether the talented Chandler would receive an invitation down the road to the talent-laden German team is up for question as well, although his versatility would seem to make him a potential if not first-choice callup.
While the American side has “lost” potential internationals such as New Jersey born Giuseppe Rossi (Italy) and Dortmund’s center back Neven Subotic (Serbia), who lived in Florida and trained with the junior American national teams, it has also been on the “winning” end of the spectrum, adding such talents as German-born players such as Jones, Johnson and Williams as well as Scottish-born Stuart Holden and many other American internationals born abroad over the last two decades of USMNT play. It’s a situation that occurs for national teams around the world as players with multiple national team options have the right to decide who to play for, or learn which nation desire their services.
Thus the Chandler mystery looks to continue for the forseeable future. While American fans desire Chandler’s allegiance to the USMNT, it’s truly Chandler’s decision to make, and whatever his personal decision becomes, Americans in particular should respect his future choice, given the nation’s founding on the principles of personal freedom.
ROSTER ADDITIONS BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (7): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)