On August 7, 2014 American soccer icon Landon Donovan made a shocking announcement that he is retiring from soccer after the current Major League Soccer season. Landon is the poster boy for American soccer and a household name. The annoucement came out of nowhere because Donovan has been in top form and his showed no signs of regression. Donovan joins tennis star Bjorn Borg, running back Barry Sanders, pitcher Sandy Koufax, running back Jim Brown, and soccer player Eric Contana as star athletes who retire “prematurely.” Running back Ricky Williams and Michael Jordan are technically apart of this group, but they couldn’t play golf forever before making their comebacks. The Los Angeles Galaxy fan’s were very disheartened to hear of Landon’s sudden retirement. At 32 years of age Donovan is at the peak of his career and seems to want to ride into the sunset as a top gun instead of a withering old dog that needs to be put to bed.
Donovan recently scored the game winning goal on Manuel Neuer (world’s best goalkeeper) to help lead the MLS allstars to a 2-1 upset victory over soccer powerhouse Bayern Munich. Given Donovan’s ties to Germany early in his playing career it was very fitting for the brightest star to shine. It even begs a bigger question that US soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann made a huge mistake of leaving a player of Donovan’s caliber off the final world cup roster this summer. Donovan is well known for his goal scoring prowess, speed, acceleration, and ball control.
In his playing career at the club level Donovan started his pro career at age 17 for German giants Bayern Leverkusen with much of that spell being on loan to MLS side San Jose Earthquakes. He then came back home officially to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005. In his time with the Galaxy he had some great loan opportunities with Bayern Munich and Everton FC. Donovan is a 5 time Major League Soccer Cup champion. Two of those championships were with the San Jose Earthquakes and 3 with his current squad the LA Galaxy.
Landon Donovan has garnered numerous honors such as: U.S. soccer young athlete of the year, U.S. soccer athlete of the year, best young player of the 2002 World Cup, Honda Player of The Year (best national team player), and MLS MVP just to list a few of the many awards Donovan has earned. Donovan is second in caps with 156 (appearances) behind Cobi Jones (164) for the men’s national team and the most prolific goal scorer in national team history with 57 goals. In MLS play Donovan tops the all time list as well with 138 goals. He has scored a total of 176 goals in his club playing career. The only huge criticism Donovan has received is he dominated MLS for too long and should have went to Europe permanently to compete against the Messi’s and Steven Gerard’s of the world like Clint Dempsey did at Tottenham and Fulham with great success. Donovan is noted for loving Los Angeles and is a California kid at heart. His disdain for being away from his stomping ground may sadly be the reason why he was not more adventurous overseas. I personally would have like to see him flourish and become a even better footballer if he made his way to Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United or Anchelotti in Chelsea at the time.
I am very proud of the accomplishments you’ve made, the efforts you displayed, and the everlasting memories you created, none bigger than the game winning goal in stoppage time to get the USA to the next round of the 2010 World Cup versus Algeria. Farewell Landon Donovan, it truly was a privilege to watch you ball. If this is the last curtain call for sure, which I have my doubts about, then Landon must realize he will be bombarded by offers from clubs worldwide so we shall see if this is indeed the end of the road. The roller coaster is not over quite yet as the LA Galaxy have 14 more regular season games remaining and if they make the playoffs a possible 9 more outings. Attached is a video of the phenom Donovan has been over the years. Enjoy! -BoSo