The 22-year-old German-American right back is set to become cap-tied after a lengthy saga that saw him fall out of the national team picture as he focused on his club career.Jurgen Klinsmann's patient approach with Timmy Chandler is on the verge of paying off.
With an appearance in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Honduras, Chandler will officially be cap-tied to the United States, putting an end to a lengthy saga in which the player's commitment to the USA came under a hard line of questioning.
Chandler, the 22-year-old German-American right back for FC Nurnberg, spent a year out of the national team setup, making his long-awaited return in November's friendly against Russia. With an ability to patrol the right flank with pace and an attacking mindset, he brings a dynamic element to the U.S. lineup. It is one that was worth the wait for Klinsmann, who did not shut the door on Chandler when the defender made it clear that he was more focused on solidifying his club presence than committing himself to representing the Stars and Stripes and led some to believe that he was holding out hope for a call-up from Joachim Low's Germany.
"I think he's simply just maturing, he's growing into his role as a full-time professional," Klinsmann said on a conference call from Miami, where the USA is training ahead of its trip to San Pedro Sula. "Some it takes a couple of years longer, and that's why we were very patient and are patient with Timmy to mature.
"For us coaches, it's the job to understand where certain players are in their own process and then pick them up where they are and help them to get to the next level. We are patient with Timmy to get to the next level."
With an injury preventing first-choice right back Steve Cherundolo from joining the USA for Wednesday's qualifier, Chandler is in line to get the start, be locked into playing for the USA going forward and earn more trust and faith from coaches in teammates. If he can turn in a good showing, he can lay the foundation to become a lineup fixture for Klinsmann during the CONCACAF hexagonal, and at the very least compete with and push Cherundolo for a starting place over the long haul.
"Now this opportunity coming up, a big World Cup qualifier [with] Stevie unfortunately injured, it's huge for him," Klinsmann said. "We are thrilled. He comes in on the right foot in terms of he comes in with a win for his club team, which was very important for him, and hopefully with a lot of confidence now.
"It also gives us more options and more quality in our own roster. He definitely has qualities that you've seen already in some games that we want to build on."