By JOHN BOSCHINI
CARY, North Carolina– Of all the new faces joining the U.S. National Team camp in North Carolina this week, the most intriguing and least known of the newcomers is German-born midfielder/defender Timothy Chandler.
Chandler first drew attention from U.S. national team fans, and U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, when he expressed interest in playing for the United States earlier this year. Since then, the midfielder has broken into the first team at Nurnberg and established himself as a rising star in the Bundesliga. This caught the attention of Bradley, who had been tracking the 20-year-old Chandler since he declared his desire to play for the United States.
"For Tim, it's only been in the second half of this season that he has started playing with the first team at Nurnberg," Bradley said. "Immediately we were aware that he was working his way into the first team and he started to get some playing time."
Chandler, who speaks limited English, was born in Frankfurt, Germany but has American citizenship via an American father who served in the military. Current U.S. assistant coach Lubos Kubik, a former Nurnberg player, traveled to Germany to scout Chandler.
"Lubos went to Nurnberg and saw a game live and met with Tim," Bradley said. "We knew that he wanted to play for us and we felt good about the progress he was making. We’re excited to have him with us."
Chandler is an attacking midfielder by trade but has lined up as a defender in recent outings for Nurnberg. Chandler could eventually offer the United States an attacking option in central midfield or on the right flank, but before he finds a position with the national team, Chandler will be busy adjusting to the U.S. national team system.
"We just need to get to know him," Bradley said. "When he plays as a right back (for Nurnberg) I don’t think they play right back exactly the way we do. It’ll just be an opportunity for us to give him our ideas on how we do things and see how he responds."