After playing hard to get with the United States for the past year, Timothy Chandler is claiming that he's finally ready to commit to the Stars and Stripes.
The German-American made the announcement in an interview on the U.S. team's official website following his selection to the squad that will visit Russia for a friendly on Wednesday.
“I spent a lot of time thinking this over. 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,” Chandler said.
Ever since getting his first cap with the U.S. in March 2011, Chandler has made eight appearances for the national team but has strayed away from playing in any official matches. While it has never been confirmed, speculation suggested that the German-born right back didn't want to be cap-tied in case Germany decided to call on him.
Based on his explanation, Chandler claims there were other factors that made it difficult for him to fully commit to the U.S., including influence from his club coach to hold off on becoming locked down to the country.
“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," he told the website. "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.”
When Chandler has featured for the U.S., the 22-year-old has shown why he could potentially be Steve Cherundolo's long-term replacement at right back if not at the 2014 World Cup. At 6-foot-1, he has good size for an outside back and his blazing pace allows him to contribute on offense as well. Chandler's form at FC Nuremberg, a midtable team in the German Bundlesliga, has many believing that he will join a bigger club this January.
For now, he's focused on the United States' next match against Russia. He admits that fellow German-Americans Danny Williams and Jermaine Jones helped him in returning to the U.S.
“I have been in contact with Jermaine Jones and Danny Williams and they have told me about what’s been going on in these games. We talked about my situation as well, but the most important thing has been the team,” Chandler said.
He added, "I’m excited to be back as a part of the group. This is a great group of guys. I hope they accept me back into the team. I’m very happy to be here.”
But will the fans accept him? Chandler hopes so.
“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," Chandler explained. "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.”
Follow ALEX LABIDOU on