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U.S. men

Chandler is missing from mix as Klinsmann names first group for qualifiers.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Thursday, May 17, 2012) -- United States men's coach Jürgen Klinsmann named yesterday the first 16 players of what will be a 29-man training camp in Orlando, Fla. The remaining players will be named May 20 in advance of the five-day camp and three scheduled friendlies -- starting with Scotland May 26 in Jacksonville, Fla. -- and then the first two World Cup qualifying matches of this cycle.

Most noticeable in his absence is Timmy Chandler, a 22-year-old German-American defender, who declined his invitation. Klinsmann said Chandler's absence is a result of the player saying he needed a break after a difficult season with 1. FC Nürnberg of the German Bundesliga. But there can be more to it than that.

"I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football," Klinsmann told the U.S. Soccer Federation web site. "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."

This is the second call-up that Chandler has turned down. He is still not tied to the U.S. and clearly harbors hopes of playing for Germany. He has grown up in Germany and reportedly has had little contact with his American father's side of the family. Many believe he will not make the jump to Klinsmann's team until it becomes absolutely clear he cannot go with Germany to a World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

"It will be exciting on May 20 to have all our (Major League Soccer) players join camp, as well of some of the foreign-based guys who are finishing their commitments, because they are in a full run right now and they should all be really fit and they should be excited," Klinsmann said. "Because of the different schedules for the season, it's always a challenge for us because you want them all to be in top shape and be confident, and feel like they're ready for the competition.

"It's going to be really exciting for us, for me personally and our coaching staff. It's the first time we have our best players together for a longer stretch of time, which is why we put so much planning into this camp. A lot of work was being done before the players actually arrived that we hope the players will appreciate (it), but on the other hand, we also expect them to work very, very hard now in the next four weeks."

Veterans, including striker Clint Dempsey, goalkeeper Tim Howard, defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo, and midfielder Michael Bradley are included in this first group. One surprise is the inclusion of defender Alfredo Morales, who is on Bundesliga champion Hertha Berlin, but was not included on the club's game- day roster very often.

TSV Hoffenheim defender-midfielder Danny Williams is in the first group, but his fitness is a question after dealing with an ankle injury..

Obviously, players such as midfielder Landon Donovan, defenders Oguchi Onyewu and striker Jozy Altidore, midfielder Maurice Edu, defender-midfielder Fabian Johnson and the versatile Brek Shea will be in the second group called in. Borussia Dortmund's young forward Terrence Boyd has already announced to the world, via Twitter, that he too has been summoned.

While it is still too early to pinpoint the starters for the qualifiers, a good guess would see Howard in goal, veterans Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Onyewu with Fabian Johnson on the back-line, Jones as the defensive midfielder, Donovan and Bradley in the midfield, along with either Edu or Torres, with Dempsey and Altidore the strikers.

After facing Scotland, the U.S. will face Brazil four days later in Landover, Md., and Canada in Toronto on June 3. The World Cup semifinal qualifiers are against Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa, Fla. on June 8, followed by what promises to be the most difficult match to date, a visit to Guatemala on June 11.


The first 16 members of training pool:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer).

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin, Germany).

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake, MLS), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona, Italy), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Fabian Johnson (TSV Hoffenheim, Germany), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04, Germany), Jose Torres (Pachuca, Mexico), Danny Williams (TSV Hoffenheim, Germany)

Forward: Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England).


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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