Trust issues: wondering if Timothy Chandler is really “all in” for the United States?

4 Comments

Any adult who didn’t marry their high school sweetheart has probably done a little dating.

Here’s a point of fact: the fickle and flakey ones may eventually come around, and may even become your true blue.

But the more likely outcome is this: fickle and flakey today means fickle and flakey forever. Keep courting them at your own peril, because they are probably going to be trouble.

With that in mind, forgive us our cynicism if we don’t exactly believe just yet that Timmy Chandler is “all in” for the United States. We’ve been jilted before.

Chandler, a promising right back and valued young Bundesliga performer at FC Nuremberg, first appeared for the United States in March of 2011. But he turned down a chance to play that summer for Bob Bradley in the Gold Cup. A year later, he rejected the call for three summer friendlies and two World Cup qualifiers.

Those two qualifiers were the first meaningful matches for U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann. The coach was typically mellow about it all, content to give the young man time to choose his path. With dual citizenship, Chandler was free to compete for Germany or the United States.

The latest now is that Klinsmann has invited him back into the fold, and Chandler is with the team in Frankfurt, Germany, its base before departure into Russia for Wednesday’s friendly.

And he’s saying all the right things. Like this, from a Q&A with U.S. Soccer:

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. 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.”

Yes, yes, all of that is well and good. But, again, forgive us all for wondering if things might have been different had Chandler been called into the German national team for any of its recent World Cup qualifiers.

And forgive us for thinking all this could have been handled better by Chandler, and perhaps by U.S. Soccer, too.

Clearly, Chandler wanted to make the best choice between the United States and Germany – and fair enough. (Playing in the June qualifiers would have tied the 22-year-old defender to the United States for good.) But why all the misdirection and the hooey we got before from Chandler about injuries and needing to take a break, etc.?

A little honesty “yesterday” would have gone a long way “today.”

It was all handled with less than 100 percent disclosure before – so forgive us if we all continue to have some trust issues on this one.