The melting pot: German-Americans more than 20 percent of US World Cup roster

The Associated Press

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JUNE 14-15 - In this May 22, 2014 photo, U.S. soccer players, from left, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Julian Green, and Timothy Chandler meet after a practice in preparation for the World Cup tournament, in Stanford, Calif. All are German-Americans on the U.S. World Cup team. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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Chandler has been scrutinized for his devotion to the U.S. program. He made his debut in March 2011 in an exhibition against Argentina, but declined to be a part of that year's CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers in 2012. That kept open his ability to switch to Germany.

Chandler didn't appear in a competitive match for the U.S. until a World Cup qualifier at Honduras in February 2013. He played poorly, and Klinsmann didn't bring him back until last month — after the speedy 24-year-old recovered from knee injury.

"I thought it was gone," he said of his World Cup chances.

Brooks and Green were among the more surprising picks for the roster. A 21-year-old central defender, Brooks made his U.S. debut in August.

"I never lived here. Only for visits with my family in Chicago, twice or something like that," Brooks said. "When I'm here, I'm a full American. I play with heart for America."

Green, who turned 19 on June 6, is the third-youngest player at the World Cup, and he is thought to be on the team to develop for the future.

Klinsmann was extremely protective of Green, who was born in Tampa but grew up mostly in Germany. The coach wouldn't allow him to speak with reporters before the announcement of the 23-man roster.

Having the older German-speaking players made Green's assimilation easier.

"Of course, it's important to have guys like them," he said. "But I also have to deal with everyone on the team. We are one team, and right now, we are focused on the World Cup."

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