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USA's German-American pipeline
by Paul Kennedy, March 25th, 2011 1:04AM

TAGS:  americans abroad, germany, men's national team


[THE SIXER] Germans born to American GIs and German mothers and raised in German soccer have been part of the U.S. national team for the last 20 years. The arrival of David Yelldell and Timothy Chandler, called up for the Argentina and Paraguay friendlies, raises the number of German-Americans who have been part of the senior national team program to six. Here's a look at the German-American connection ...

THOMAS DOOLEY. Thomas Dooley wasn't the first German born to an American GI to make it big in the Bundesliga. That honor goes to Erwin Kostedde and Jimmy Hartwig, the first blacks to play for the German national team.

Dooley was 30 when he was discovered by Jennifer Hemmer, who was working for U.S. Soccer's marketing agency and saw him play at a game in Germany. She happened to run into Michael Becker, Dooley's best friend and future agent, at a post-game reception and asked him what kind of name was Dooley. He was the son of a GI named Courtney Joseph Dooley, who left Germany when Thomas was a 1-year-old and never returned.

Dooley and Becker followed up with U.S. Soccer and by spring 1992, Dooley was starting for the U.S. national team, in the midst of preparations for the 1994 World Cup. He started in both the 1994 and 1998 World Cups and now resides in the United States.

MICHAEL MASON. Mason was not the player Dooley was. But when he finally made Hamburg's first team in 1996, then-U.S. national team coach Steve Sampson took note of him reading a report on the Internet -- hence Mason's nickname "Dotcom."

Mason played in five games -- three of them 1998 World Cup qualifiers -- in the first half of 1997 but never represented the USA again.

He spent much of his career in the lower levels of German soccer.

DAVID WAGNER. At the same time Sampson brought in Mason for the World Cup qualifier between the USA and Canada in 1997, Wagner arrived from Schalke 04 on the recommendation of Dooley, his club teammate.

Convinced that Wagner was ineligible because he had already represented Germany at the youth level, the Canadian Soccer Association protested after the game, and it was only by chance when Sampson called the Soccer America offices to return an interview request did he learn that its editors had discovered by digging through their library of old kicker magazines that the Wagner in question was another Wagner and David Wagner's only appearances for Germany were in unofficial youth games.

Wagner's national team career lasted a little longer than did Mason's. His last game for the USA came in April 1998 against Austria. He was recently appointed the head coach of Borussia Dortmund's under-23 team for next season.

JERMAINE JONES. Jones was born in Germany but spent time in Chicago and Mississippi before returning to Germany after his parents divorced. He debuted with Eintracht Frankfurt a decade ago and spent his entire career in Germany with Eintracht and Schalke 04 before his falling out with since-departed Schalke boss Felix Magath led to a loan move to Blackburn Rivers in England in January.

He had represented Germany at the under-21 level but his only appearances at the senior level were in friendly games, so he was able to switch allegiances and suit up for the U.S. national team under new FIFA rules that allow former youth national team players to make a one-time switch if they were eligible to play for the second team at the time they debuted for the first.

Jones was injured last season, precluding an opportunity to make the 2010 U.S. World Cup team. His first appearance for the USA came last fall against Poland.

TIMOTHY CHANDLER. At 20, Chandler is the youngest German-American brought into the national team program.

Born to a father who was an American GI and German mother, Chandler moved from Eintracht Frankfurt to Nuremberg last summer and spent the fall on Nuremberg's under-23 team. He debuted for Nuremberg this winter and had one goal and two assists in his first start for Nuremberg, a 4-1 win at VfB Stuttgart.

Unlike other German-Americans who had to be coaxed into playing for the USA, Chandler, who turns 21 on Tuesday, readily admitted his interest in representing the USA when he moved up to the Nuremberg first team in January.

DAVID YELLDELL. Yelldell is no stranger to American soccer fans. He spent two seasons at Blackburn in England as the backup to American keeper Brad Friedel.

Yelldell never broke into Blackburn's first team, so he returned to his hometown and his former club, Stuttgart Kickers, and has spent the last six seasons in Germany's second division, mostly recently TuS Koblenz and Duisburg, which he has helped reach the 2011 German Cup final.

Now 29, Yelldell benefits from the suddenly slim pool of candidates in goal for the USA.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 25, 2011 at 9:46 a.m.
    Still waiting for Bradley to discover a game plan that suits this team...and still waiting for his son to be benched in order to see how that works out.
  1. Scott Nelson
    commented on: March 25, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
    We lost out on potentially the greatest "Ami" in Maurice Banach, who was scoring goals for fun in the Bundesliga for FC Koln when he was tragically killed in a car accident in 1991.

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