Photo by ISIphotos.com
When the U.S. Men’s National Team takes to the field on Wednesday, Timmy Chandler is very likely to be starting on the right side of the American defense.
That scenario is something that few would have predicted mere months ago, but it is one that could play out after Chandler accepted his first U.S. call-up in nearly a year.
Having turned down various call-ups for much of 2012, Chandler says he has matured on and off the field in recent months, and that is why he is now ready to play for the U.S. against Russia on Wednesday and on a more permanent basis.
“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,” Chandler told ussoccer.com. “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.”
Chandler is hoping the rest of the U.S. team will accept him after he missed out on the first half of World Cup qualifying and the 2011 Gold Cup, but his teammates are not the only ones he needs to win over.
There is a big percentage of U.S. fans that is not happy with the German-American’s decision to repeatedly turn down call-ups and him accepting this one from head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is unlikely to completely end their skepticism. Chandler will still not be cap-tied to the United States even if he plays on Wednesday in Krasnodar, and the first opportunity for that to happen will not come until next February, at the earliest.
“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,” said Chandler. “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.”
There is no denying that Chandler has enough talent (his speed, crosses from the outside and athletic abilities are all qualities Klinsmann could use) to help the Americans at a position they could use some youth in, but his commitment will continue to be a topic of conversation until he is finally locked into the U.S. program.
For what it’s worth, Chandler says that time is near.
“I spent a lot of time thinking this over,” said Chandler. “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.”
What do you think of Chandler accepting this call-up? Believe that he is finally committed to the United States’ cause? Is there a part of you that still feels skeptical?
Share your thoughts below.