The on-again, off-again saga of Timmy Chandler continues. For the second year in a row, the German-born defender has turned down a call-up to the U.S.
Once, we could understand. But twice now? If Chandler doesn't want to play for the USA, he should come out and say so. But holding out to play for German national team -- if that's what he's doing -- is getting old.
U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann won't say it, but reading between the lines of his statement on the Chandler natter, you get the sense he is running out of patience with the 22-year-old Nuremberg player.
Last year, Chandler turned down a chance to play for Bob Bradley in the Gold Cup.
This year, it was for three friendlies and two World Cup '14 qualifiers, the first two competitive games of Klinsmann's tenure.
Participation in a single game in the Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying would have tied Chandler to the USA forever.
Last year, Chandler later cited the need to rest and recuperate from undisclosed injuries as the reason for his decision -- made, he said, at the request of his German club Nuremberg -- to not attend the Gold Cup.
Chandler did not comment on his decision not to travel to Florida for the camp that opened Tuesday, but Klinsmann said it was the need "to take a break." Nothing about injuries. Nothing about Nuremberg's wishes.
“I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football," Klinsmann said in a Q&A on ussoccer.com about his initial selections. "He has expressed his appreciation for all the opportunities we have given him, but he also feels at this point he needs to take a break. It’s disappointing not having him as a part of the team at this important juncture of building our team, but ultimately a player must decide what is best for him. The door is certainly not closed on Timmy, but in the moment we move on without him.”
"Appreciation for all the opportunities we have given him."
"A player must decide what is best for him."
And ... "we move on without him."
Yes, Klinsmann is doing just that.
What makes Chandler's decision curious is that his chances of starting for the USA appear significantly greater than for Germany.
His chances of nailing down a regular spot in the U.S. lineup at right back some time in the near future are pretty good. Steve Cherundolo has played there since 1999, making him the longest-serving player on the national team, but he will soon be 33. (If Klinsmann needs Chandler at left back, he could help there, too.)
They say Germany doesn't have a natural right back, but Coach Joachim Loew doesn't lack for options. Jerome Boateng, 23, or Benedikt Hoewedes, 24, should serve Germany well at Euro 2012 -- and for many years in the future.
The German national team is ridiculously young and ridiculously deep, so the idea that Loew needs to poach Chandler is rather far-fetched.
Former U.S. right back Tony Sanneh stirred things up last fall, tweeting that the word around Nuremberg, where he once played, was that Chandler was going to play for Germany.
The German federation went so far as to issue a statement denying the rumor of meeting between Chandler and Loew.
This time, Chandler needs to come out and explain himself.