On August 7, US National Soccer Team & Major League Soccer (MLS) legend Landon Donovan announced that he will retire from professional soccer following the conclusion of the 2014 MLS season. Donovan is the leading goal scorer in MLS history, US National Team history, MLS playoffs, and in the MLS All-Star games. He has won five MLS Cups, a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, two MLS Supporters Shields (best regular season record), and four CONCACAF Gold Cups. He has scored 5 goals in three World Cups (earning Best Young Player in 2002), and arguably should have competed in a fourth.
Donovan has been the “face of soccer” in the United States for as long as I can remember. He has been consistent throughout his entire career, and has even carried his team on his shoulders when they have needed him most. One moment that I, and I’m sure everyone else will surely never forget, is the stoppage time goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup. It looked like the US were certainly eliminated from the tournament, but with just minutes remaining, Donovan smashed home the game winning goal in the 1-0 victory over the Algerians. Please feel free to share your favorite memories of the greatest American soccer player in history.
On Saturday, I traveled to Ohio to watch Columbus Crew host Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS regular season match. Los Angeles, as I’m sure many of you know, is the club that Landon Donovan plays for. It was my third and final opportunity that I have to watch Landon Donovan play in person -- and what a privilege that has been. I’ll be sure to share my experience in Columbus with you, and hopefully have some pictures to post too. Donovan and the rest of the Galaxy only have 14 MLS regular season games remaining. I encourage everyone to watch as many of these games as you can -- you still have an opportunity to watch a true legend play before he hangs up his cleats for good -- so please don’t waste it.
There’s no doubt that Landon Donovan is the greatest American to ever play the game. He has given so much to this sport, and this country -- and said he will continue to do so -- however he can. This certainly isn’t the last we’ll hear of the legend. After the 2014 season comes to an end, there are countless opportunities for him -- whether that be coaching, commentating, or just offering his expert opinions -- Landon Donovan will continue to give to soccer.
With Donovan leaving, this will obviously free up quite a bit of salary space, so who will LA sign to the team? There are endless possibilities, and it’s probably a little too early to start guessing. It probably won’t be until around January that we actually start hearing news about potential signees. As always, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.
Landon will definitely be missed by soccer fans all around the world. He was playing in the first soccer match that I ever watched in my life. He inspired me quite a bit during my soccer career, and I’ll definitely miss watching him do what he’s best at. He is a one of a kind player that has had such an impact on our country. Landon Donovan is a true American Hero. It’s tough to grasp that we will never see him in the US jersey ever again, but soccer in America still has a very bright future.
Stay tuned, Kelby