Farewell Landon Donovan


Landon Donovan

The end of an era is upon us. Friday, October 10th, 2014 marks the final United States National Team call up for the great Landon Donovan.  Donovan who will retire from professional soccer at the end of the current Major League Soccer season will be hopeful to make his final appearance memorable for both him and the nations supporters. Arguably the greatest soccer player in United States history, Donovan brings with him the record for National team goals, assists, starts and is second in National Team appearances.

Even after being left off the 2014 US World Cup roster, Donovan still remains a polarizing figure in the minds of United States Soccer Fans. Whether it be his leadership as Captain of the United States, his unyielding demeanor while playing for club and country or his magical goals he has scored, Landon Donovan is a United States treasure that will be dearly missed. The end is coming for a player that will never be forgotten and will one day immortalized in US Soccer’s Hall of Fame.

The Beginning

Born in Ontario, California, Landon Donovan first began playing soccer at the age of six. In 1999 Donovan joined the United States Developmental academy in Bradenton, Florida. He joined future national team stalwart and fellow IMG Academy player DaMarcus Beasley on the 1999 Under-17 World Cup roster where he was voted second best player at the tournament behind Beasley in the tournament where the United States finished a still record fourth.

Also in 1999, Donovan signed for the defending German Bundesliga runner up Bayer Leverkusen. Following two uneventful years with Leverkusen, Donovan was loaned to the Major League Soccer club San Jose Earthquakes. During his tenure with San Jose, Donovan scored 32 goals and had 29 assists in regular season play while adding an additional ten goals and six assists in the playoffs. Donovan led the Earthquakes to two MLS Cups. Donovan also became the first player voted United States Soccer Athlete of the year three years in a row.

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Los Angeles Galaxy

After the 2004 MLS season, Landon Donovan returned to Bayer Leverkusen. After appearing in seven matches, two of them starts, Donovan expressed his desire to return to the United States. During his time away, San Jose traded Donovan’s rights to his hometown club, the Los Angeles Galaxy. After sending Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas, Los Angeles put themselves first in the allocation line.

Donovan joined Los Angeles prior to the start of the 2005 season. In his first season with Los Angeles, Donovan scored twelve goals with ten assists. LA finished in the last playoff spot during the regular season. Donovan surpisingly led the Galaxy to the clubs second MLS Cup title. Donovan would add four goals along the way while also being named to the MLS Best XI.

Prior to the start of the 2006 season LA manager Doug Hamilton suffered a heart attack on the plane ride home from the clubs CONCACAF Champions Cup fixture. The team was never able to recover from the sudden loss of their manager. They finished fifth in the Western Conference and out of the playoffs. The club, even with the addition of international superstar David Beckham, missed the playoffs in 2007 and 2008.

The 2009 season would mark a turnaround for the club. The club would win the 2009 Western Conference title just missing out on the supporters shield by one point. Donovan finished fifth in the leagues scoring title race with twelve goals and six assists. Donovan was named the League MVP for the first and only time. Making it back to the MLS Cup final, LA lost to Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks with Donovan missing his penalty.

Los Angeles would go on to win the Supporters Shield in 2010 and 2011 with Donovan scoring seven and sixteen goals in each campaign. In 2011 Landon Donovan would lead Los Angeles to their first MLS Cup since 2005. Los Angeles would finish fourth in 2012, putting the club in the playoffs. Los Angeles would go on to win its second straight title in 2012 behind Donovan’s twelve goals. With his three MLS Cup titles with Los Angeles and the the two he had with San Jose, Donovan currently sits on five MLS Cup titles, a MLS player record.


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  • For the United States National Soccer team, Landon Donovan is the most recognized figure. Second in appearances, Fist in Starts, First in Goals and First in assists. Landon Donovan is the greatest USA player of his era, and most likely the greatest their has ever been. His leadership and ability on the field caused him to be the face of US soccer for more than a decade. Even with the arrival of Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Tim Howard, Landon Donovan was the heart and soul for a nation.

    Making his first appearance for the national team on October 25th, 2000 against rival Mexico, Donovan quickly placed a stamp on his place with the team, scoring in his first match with the United States. Donovan would go on the play in the United States team for the next two years, making his World Cup debut in the 2002 World Cup against Portugal. In the sides second match against Poland, Landon Donovan would score his first ever World Cup goal in a 3-1 loss before adding another goal in the United States Round of 16Dos a Cero” upset victory against rival Mexico.

    For most Americans however, Donovan is remembered for one goal. Whether it be the commentary provided from the great Ian Darke or the magic of it all. Any American fan that witnessed the goal will never forget where they were when it happened. On June 23rd, 2010, the United States faced Algeria in a match that the side had to win in order to qualify for the Round of 16. In stoppage time, the match was tied 0-0. All hope was lost for fans of the United States. The US was about to makes its second straight group stage exit at the World Cup. As the minutes faded away, the side continued to push on. In the 91st minute though, the unthinkable happened.

    The United States went on to win the match 1-0 over Algeria. Though the side was knocked out by Ghana in the Round of 16, the goal from Donovan will forever live in the memories of those who watched in live in South Africa and at home in the United States.

    Arguably the greatest soccer star in American history will say farewell to the nation he has represented throughout his career with pride and dignity. Seeing Donovan on the field for the United States again will be truly bitter-sweet. Seeing Donovan captain the red, white and blue is something not to miss. With this, his final appearance for the USA here, it is time to say thank-you. For fifteen years, Landon Donovan has given his all for both club and country. Thank-you Landon for all the years of service. The end of an era is upon us, and it time to say goodbye.