Timothy Chandler was born in Frankfurt am Main to a German mother and an African-American father. His parents split up not long after he was born and he ended up staying in Germany with his mother. The 31 year-old defender began his career at Eintracht Frankfurt before moving to Nuremberg in 2010. He broke into the first team a year later before returning to Eintracht in 2014, where he has been ever since.
In March 2011, just a month after getting into the Nuremberg first team, Chandler was called up by then USA boss Bob Bradley to face Paraguay and Argentina. Chandler had a decision to make on whether to play for Germany or USA, but as these were friendlies, that decision did not have to be taken in that moment. He played the second period of a 1-1 draw versus Argentina, but then, when he was selected again a year later, he turned it down. He had a decision to make. In the end, Chandler opted to represent the USA despite being born and brought up in Germany.
In an interview with 'Betway', Chandler explained that "it was the beginning of my career and USA was the first national team that asked me to play." It was simple as that. Despite playing in some friendlies, he did not make his competitive debut until 2013 when he took part in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Honduras. The Americans lost the game 2-1, but it was a special day for the then 20 year-old Chandler: "I think this was one of the biggest things in my career and meant a lot to me," he said.
As well as the experience of playing international football, Chandler revealed that he made friends among his new teammates. "Jozy (Altidore) was a great guy from the first day. Dempsey was great too, but I think the most important one was Jozy," he said. As well as being new to international football, Chandler revealed the cultural differences he experienced and the language barrier as his English "isn't perfect." That said, the footballer explained that Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams spoke German and there were funny moments as they made some mistakes while speaking.
The support of his teammates was something Chandler really valued and he also liked the fact he could buy cereal Fruity Pebbles every time he went. However, Chandler, who has made 29 international appearances, has not played international football since 2016 as the USA national team has its eyes on younger talent. Despite not being part of the team, Chandler wished the squad well and thinks they have plenty of potential thanks to players like John Brooks of Wolfsburg and Juventus' Weston McKennie.
"I really think the team has a lot of good players. I think the target is to go far at the World Cup, maybe we can reach the quarter-finals," Chandler predicted. Even if that prediction could be a bit ambitious, what is certain is that football in the United States is definitely growing. Major League Soccer (MLS) is now becoming an attractive league for all footballers, not just those who are close to retirement, and Chandler believes the league has a bright future:
"I do think MLS can achieve a lot in the next couple of years, they can come close to Europe." Despite former Frankfurt teammate Dejan Joveljic moving to the LA Galaxy, Chandler is happy to stay put, but he did admit he had been tempted to move to North America: "I thought about it a couple of times, but Frankfurt is my hometown club."
Despite having not played international football for five years, Chandler said he still follows the national team's fortunes and he enjoyed the experience of playing for them. The USA could well be at the next World Cup and we may see Chandler playing in the USA in the not too distant future. As Timothy Chandler has shown, playing for your national team is much more than just playing football for a country for 90 minutes. Plenty of other factors come into play and the experience is one he will keep for life.
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