USMNT clearance: LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman approved to join

Timothy Tillman USMNT overlay

UPDATE (May 23) – FIFA has approved a one-time change of association for LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman, making him eligible to represent the United States in international competition.

The 24-year-old, who joined the reigning MLS Cup-Supporters’ Shield double winners this winter, previously represented Germany in official competition at the youth level.

The older brother of current USMNT midfielder Malik, Tillman was born in Nürnberg, Germany and is the son of a German mother and US serviceman. He previously played for Greuther Fürth before joining LAFC.

“To represent the United States is obviously making me proud. I’m really honored to do so and I’m looking forward to the future with the United States,” Tillman said in a release.

“Telling my family about it was really exciting. As a kid, my brother and I dreamt of playing for a national team together and now we’re one step closer.”

The USMNT have two tournaments this summer in which Tillman could make his debut: Concacaf Nations League in mid-June and the Concacaf Gold Cup in late June and early July. Once Tillman makes his senior international debut, he’d become part of the ninth set of brothers to appear for the USMNT.

ORIGINAL (May 12) – LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman has filed a one-time switch of association to represent the United States in international soccer instead of Germany, according to a report from _The Athletic_’s Elias Burke.

Born and raised in Germany, Tillman represented his European homeland in an official competition as a youth player, featuring up through their U-19s. Now, to become eligible for the USMNT, he’d have to complete the necessary paperwork and get approval from FIFA – following a step his younger brother, Malik Tillman, took when opting for the USMNT in May 2022.

The elder Tillman, 24, has been a standout for the Black & Gold since arriving in February from German second-division side Greuther Fürth, posting three goals and two assists in 13 matches across all competitions. He’s become a first-choice starter for the defending MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champions as they’ve reached the 2023 Concacaf Champions League final, which they’ll contest with Liga MX’s Club León across two legs on May 31 and June 4.

Tillman, who came up through Bayern Munich’s youth system and blossomed at Greuther Fürth, reportedly looked into joining the US U-20s a half-decade ago under former coach Tab Ramos. A move never materialized at that juncture, yet those prior intentions seem in motion now.

Should Tillman formally get cleared, he’d join arguably the USMNT’s deepest position. Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah were locked-in starters during the 2022 World Cup cycle, while LAFC teammate Kellyn Acosta and European-based standouts Brenden Aaronson and Luca de la Torre offer depth at the position as well. Malik Tillman, fresh off a season-long loan to Scottish powerhouse Rangers from Bayern Munich, is among those pushing for a more significant role.

The USMNT, currently led by interim head coach Anthony Hudson, are entering a busy summer of soccer that includes two Concacaf title defenses. The Nations League final stage arrives in mid-June, then the Gold Cup runs from late June to mid-July. All the while, new sporting director Matt Crocker is leading the search for a permanent head coach in the buildup to the North America 2026 World Cup, which the US have auto-qualified for as co-hosts alongside Canada and Mexico.

There’s a long history of the USMNT courting dual-national talents, with Club América winger Alejandro Zendejas the latest get after he snubbed Mexico earlier this spring. Then there’s the continued pursuit of England-born striker Folarin Balogun, who’s among Ligue 1’s top scorers and could greatly enhance the program’s No. 9 situation.