Chandler, Johnson bring new dimension 

September, 1, 2011

CARSON, Calif. -- After a summer of holding their collective breath, U.S. Soccer fans can breathe a sigh of relief: Timmy Chandler is back with the national team, and once again, he's says he's not going anywhere.

Fabian Johnson, another German-American starter in the Bundesliga, is also here this week. His impending addition, coupled with Chandler's return, means the ever-growing U.S. depth chart all of a sudden is significantly deeper.

Chandler, the FC Nurnberg wunderkind, is -- like Johnson and Jermaine Jones -- the son of a U.S. serviceman who was stationed in Germany. He grew up in the German soccer system, even playing for German junior national teams.

After announcing his intention to play for the Yanks, he made a grand entrance in the 1-1 draw against Argentina in March, showing an extra gear from his right back slot that was as impressive as his crosses from the flank.

But the 21-year-old Chandler sat out the Gold Cup, which would have cap-tied him to the U.S., and was a no-show for Jurgen Klinsmann's debut against Mexico last month, causing conspiracy theorists to fear that Chandler had reconsidered his decision even though he's repeatedly stated otherwise.

Chandler said this week in an interview with, "Some people were saying I wanted to play for Germany, but I've always wanted to play for the U.S. team. I'm with the 'A' team for the USA, and I want to keep playing. No question about it."

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.