BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, May 29, 2011
As the US national team opened camp this week in Cary, North Carolina in preparations for the Gold Cup, one of the more intriguing absences is that of FC Nurnberg fullback Timothy Chandler.
Chandler, 21, is coming off a season where he was promoted to the club's first team following the winter break and immediately became a rising star in the Bundesliga.
In March, the German-born Chandler made his debut for the US national team when he came on as a substitute against Argentina in a 1-1 draw. Days later, he earned his first international start when he played 80 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Paraguay.
Chandler earned positive reviews for his play with the national team and it was widely expected he would be part of the US Gold Cup team. This did not come to fruition however as he was not named to the roster last week.
Chandler's agent Thomas Kroth said that the reasons for him to stay behind were clear.
"The reasons are simple," agent Thomas Kroth told YA. "He is a young player and in the last month Nurnberg really played hard. He started for Nurnberg and was nominated to the National team. It was a lot for the young boy. With Timmy, the National [team] coach, and the Nurnberg coach we talked about the situation of the Gold Cup."
In addition to the last year having been a transformative year for Chandler, he is also recovering from some minor injuries that he would not have time to heal if he played at the Gold Cup. Kroth said the timing of the Gold Cup was a factor in that the final is set for June 25 and FC Nurnberg opens their preseason one day later on June 26.
"There are only two points - he's tired and he has some small injuries that he needs time to recover from. The Gold Cup is for four weeks and the day after the finals the preseason starts for Nurnberg. It's difficult for Timmy and on the other hand he has some small injuries. He's tired and it's better for him to stay in Nurnberg."
When asked about whether Chandler's absences had anything to do with a suspected change of heart about playing for the United States and instead wanting to play for Germany, Kroth denied.
"The reason why he will miss the Gold Cup is that he will play for Germany? No. That is not a point which we discussed."