Chandler making rapid progress for club, country

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NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Defender Timmy Chandler has covered a lot of soccer ground recently _ from toiling away in Germany’s fourth division three months ago to making an impressive debut with the U.S. national team.

Chandler said his coach and teammates at FC Nuremberg joke about his seemingly sudden success.

“They all laughed and said look at how quickly this is all going, all of a sudden,” said Chandler, who spoke German during the interview.

The 21-year-old known made his debut for the U.S. national team on March 26, something was even a consideration when he began playing as a youngster.

Chandler, the son of an American serviceman and a German mother, signed with hometown team Eintracht Frankfurt when he was 10. He was later invited to play for the German national team’s Under-15 side. That experience didn’t end well.

“I played for the youth team and I didn’t like that, I had a lot problems there,” said Chandler, who declined to elaborate.

Last summer, Chandler left Frankfurt and signed with Nuremberg, a tradition-steeped team in northern Bavaria. After spending the first half of the season with the second team injuries on the first team in January gave Chandler a chance to display his speed and crossing ability in the Bundesliga.

His play caught the eye of former U.S. defender Tony Sanneh, a former Nuremberg player, who put him in contact with the U.S. coaches.

Within weeks, Chandler was in training camp with the U.S. national team, and came in at the half to help spark an improbable comeback to tie against Argentina on March 26.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Chandler started the next game against Paraguay in Nashville, again pressing up the field to help create chances, though the U.S. ended up losing the game 1-0. His effective attacking play surprised longtime observers of the national team.

“Apparently that’s not so usual in the U.S.,” Chandler said. “But I said to myself that I play like this in Nuremberg _ very offensive-minded, with lots of runs down the wings. I thought I’d do it like that here, too.”

Coach Bob Bradley praised Chandler’s crossing and passes, and his positive attitude. But the coach said he may have to temper Chandler’s attacking instinct depending on the game situation, especially as the team prepares for the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.

“It’s not just going forward, it’s making good decisions,” Bradley said.

Midfielder Landon Donovan echoed those concerns after the loss against Paraguay.

“There’s certain times when we want him to do things, and he’s not quite there yet,” Donovan said. “But his pure willingness to attack is good.”

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