Editor’s Note: With this piece, we at The Yanks Are Coming are pleased to welcome Garrett McInnis to our team. Welcome Garrett, and we look forward to your pieces on the USMNT and Major League Soccer. You can follow Garrett on Twitter at @captainmcinnis.
By Garrett McInnis
Every few months/weeks/minutes/etc, supporters of the USMNT pluck one more petal off of the Timothy Chandler rose and wistfully exhale with a hopeful “He Loves Me?!!” before a subsequent rumor causes another petal to be removed with a depressing “He loves me not.” No one seems to have a good beat on Chandler’s situation and the only statements made by Timmy himself have indicated strength in his decision to play for the red, white, and blue. So when I saw his name bouncing up my twitter feed yesterday, I immediately figured there was nothing to worry about. As I read further, it became clear that Tony Sanneh (former German National who put USSF onto Chandler) used twitter to state: “Rumor is chandler gonna play for germany. Low visits nberg today”
At this point, the rumors became a little more real and I began to think honestly about my opinions should Chandler choose to defect and play for the German national team. A number of opinions floated across the internet..many expressing disappointment, confusion, and of course a bit of rage. Then there were the expected “cooler heads”, many of whom do things such as write for sites like this, who defended the young player.
Brian Straus, who writes for SportingNews offered this tweet: Wouldn’t fault Chandler even a tiny bit. He’s German! Born, raised, educated. Never lived in US. He’s 99% German.
Furthermore, Straus explained repeatedly how difficult it is for European based players refuse to play for the US team because of travel obligations, and an odd competition schedule (the Gold Cup, for example is in the Summer). Other defenders of Chandler pointed out the difficulty of this decision for such a young individual.
Look, I get the fact that he’s a German’s German. I get the fact that his English is weak at best. I get that he grew up in schools that don’t teach the Holocaust for more than an hour or so. I get the fact that being asked to play for the German national squad is the equivalent of getting a football offer from Nick Saban to play for the University of Alabama. I know the opportunity would be difficult for any 21 year old to turn down.
But don’t sit here and tell me that as an American citizen and fan of our national team I have to watch Chandler play in 4 matches wearing the US jersey and not be upset if he switches to a German allegiance. Don’t tell me I have to see evidence that our fullback situation could be better in the next Copa Mundial than it was in the past one only to have the rug pulled out from under my hopes. And don’t tell me I have keep my sanity when I’ve read repeated statements from Chandler’s own mouth like this one: “What I said in March is true. I will absolutely not play forGermany. There is no way that will happen.”
I am a fan. I’m not a lunatic fringe sort of fan that will scream and yell over this (pending) decision. I’m not going to throw things at Chandler should I see him walking down an American street (that would be battery, anyway, I’m told, and I’m not Jordan Jefferson). But I feel perfectly justified in cursing at him under my breath for the way this drama is playing out. It’s not just the fact what we wouldn’t have him for the future that boils my blood on this one. No, we’ve spent 4 of the past year’s precious few friendlies using a spot on HIM that would now be a wasted experiment. We don’t have that many chances to try out new players at positions with established vets(I know we don’t have anyone at left back, but 3/4 of his appearances were on the right side). We sure as hell don’t have enough matches to throw away a few on developing a player for another country that we are trying to catch up to. That’s not how we get better as a country…that is a perfect method for continuing to get left behind by the traditional powers. At some point we need to have good, young, talented players make the choice to play for us over teams currently considered to be better.
In the end, if he chooses to do so, I won’t be mad at Timothy for choosing the German squad over the American side. I’ll be mad at him for stringing us all along, getting my hopes up, and subsequently crushing them as soon as Joachim Low came calling.
I’ll also be mad at Bob Bradley for not showing some cajones, fighting club Nurnburg, and locking Chandler up for America in the Gold Cup roster….because let’s be honest. There’s always a reason to be mad at Bob Bradley.
Garrett Mcinnis is a contributing writer on Major League Soccer and the US Men’s National Team for The Yanks Are Coming. Follow him on Twitter, linked above.