Landon Donovan: 'I absolutely deserve to be going to Brazil'

KlinsmannDonovan (ISIPhotos.com)


CARSON, Calif.– Following his first practice with the LA Galaxy since his return from the USMNT camp in Palo Alto, Landon Donovan addressed the media for the first time since his shock omission from Team USA’s final twenty three-man World Cup roster.

“I’m not angry. I’m disappointed,” Donovan said. “I’ve spent most of my adult life, and the majority of my life in general, dedicating myself to this sport and my country, and representing my country. And so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to play in another World Cup and to help this team. Having been in camp for ten days, I really thought I was going to contribute in a real big way – probably bigger than I had expected going in.”

“Based on my performances leading up to camp, based on my preparation for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my work load, based on the way I trained and played in camp, I not only thought I was a part of the twenty three, I thought I was in contention to be starting.  That’s why this has all been pretty disappointing. And I think every one of my teammates (with the USMNT) would echo those same words.”

When asked how he felt about head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s assessment of Donovan that there were probably several players that were “ahead of him” in camp, Donovan did not hesitate to refute the notion.

“I don’t agree with that assessment. I think I was as least as good as everybody else in camp,” Donovan said. “I think you guys that know me well, know that I’m pretty honest when it comes to my assessment. When I don’t play well, I say ‘I didn’t play well.’ When I say I played well, I think I played well. I think I trained and played very well in camp.

“I think I was one of the better players. So that’s why it stings a little,” Donovan added. “If I had gone in (to camp) and didn’t feel like I deserved it, then I can live with that.But that’s not the case here.”

The ever-taciturn Donovan did not bite when he was asked if the decision was based on personal issues between him and Klinsmann.

“I can’t speak to that. I don’t know.” And when asked about why Klinsmann’s son mocked him on Twitter, Donovan simply replied “to be honest, I don’t know his son well. I’m not really sure where that came from.”

However, Donovan reiterated his feeling that his omission was not based entirely on his performance with the national team.

“I think if I’m being judged solely on what happened in camp, then I absolutely deserve to be going to Brazil,” Donovan said. “I firmly believe I deserved it, and not just from what I’ve done in the past, but from what I’ve done in the last week and a half.”

As regards his future as an international player, Donovan didn’t close the door on a national team return.

“Honestly, I haven’t had much chance to think about that. I love this country, I love playing for this country, I have always loved representing this country, so I can’t imagine that, if I’m given another opportunity, I would say no,” Donovan said. “But at this point, I’m just trying to deal with the disappointment.”

“Of course I would say yes to it, if I was called in to play in the World Cup to represent my country,” said Donovan. “That’s what I’ve been working for my entire life. Though, I don’t wish anybody ill will. I hope everyone stays healthy.”

Despite the disappointment of being left out, Donovan reminded U.S. fans to continue supporting the U.S. team, as he plans on continuing to do.

“I think it’s also very important that after today, we all move forward and support this team, because they have a big task ahead, and I have a lot of friends on that team. I want to focus the energy and move it towards supporting them so that we can have a successful World Cup.”

Lastly, Donovan discussed his personal feelings on the exclusion.

“I’m disappointed. I’m sad. I, I’m human, and I wanted to go. I really wanted to go. But I’m at peace with it. I respect the decision. I just feel in my heart that I deserve to be there. And that’s the pill that’s hardest to swallow.

“To be honest, the support I’ve received has been really overwhelming, and I think it’s help me understand the impact I’ve had. It’s really been pretty amazing. Someone said to me, and I think it’s true, a lot of times you don’t hear those messages… unless you’re at a funeral. And so some of these things I heard were really uplifting, validates the way I feel about myself as a player and as a person. I really appreciate all the support I’ve had from everyone.

“I think it was very important for me, from both a personal and professional perspective, to address it (the omission), and speak about it. But after today, I won’t be speaking about it any more. I want to focus on the Galaxy, and doing what I need to do here. And I want to urge people to support the (US) team. I don’t want there to be a negative tint to any of this.

“We’re all professionals. We’re all men. We have to handle things like this. But I think it’s important to support our team and support our nation. They need us.”

The LA Galaxy host the Philadelphia Union at home at the Stub Hub Center on Sunday night. It remains to be seen if Donovan will play in the match.


  • anon

    so many knee-jerk reactions, here.

    It’s amazing how eager USMNT fans are to throw Jurgen under the bus. We havnt even played one WC game yet. JK has made this team better! Again, this is a broken record with irrational USMNT fans – LD doesnt get his way! Fire Klinsmann!

    During WCQ’s the “Landon-less” team and coach both had risen to the occasion, with all the LD drama in the background, of course! So, here we go again! As much as everyone is faulting JK, Let’s admit Landon’s faults, too. You can still appriciate LD and see where he went wrong.

    But, thats it- nobody can. Even during the “sabbatical” drama ( which should and could have been avoided) everyone cried along side Landon’s self pity. he chose the wrong time and the wrong person to play with. JK isnt playing, LD really did burn his bridge. And saying that I remember Bob Bradley benched LD over skipping training to attend his sister’s wedding… could be seen as petty/personal as well. A coach is a coach – some more strict and cut throat than others.

    Could you imagine , i dont know… let’s say Franck Ribery, for example, complaining about his life and how unfair everything is and he hasnt had a decent break? Or even this type nonsense from Robbie Keane?


    • Bac

      Prepare to be:
      A. Vehemently attacked for presenting an opposition view
      B. Completely ignored


    • atleticodemadridfan

      Oh yeah.
      The team is the team JK chose. Live with it. It will be an interesting team to watch. They will be in GREAT physical shape, and tactically aware. The proof will be in the pudding.
      One game at a time.
      3 pre-world cup friendlies, and one closed door scrimmage in Brazil (v. Belgium?) – plenty of time to get these guys in sync. Spooling up the FTL, about to jump into hyperspace. t’s a new era for US Soccer. USA!


  • Razak pimpong

    Part of me thinks this is all Klinsmann’s master plan after the Cambodia sabbatical.Yeah I’m going to string LD along and at the last possible opportunity I’m going to cut him to create a buzz around US soccer.Because I’m a egotistical maniac who would leave him at home because of a difference in footballing philosophy.Despite that LD is still clearly one of the best field players we have and that he can provide mutch in terms of experience and leadership in a World Cup.


  • Thisten

    Landon, look on the bright side, you don’t have to wear one of those hideous Nike jerseys! How about that for a silver lining!


  • Dean in Jersey

    I’ve been a fan of Donovan’s since he came up and the national team longer than that going back to 1994. I predict someone will get injured in the 3 warm up matches coming up, a slot will open for Landon, but the bad feelings of the Klinsman snub will be too great and he still won’t be called up. Bad mistake. We need Landon’s experience in the group of death. We have had other worse snubs in past cups that have cost us big. Here are my top 3 bone head snubs for World Cup rosters:
    1. Taylor Twellman 2006 (he was MVP of MLS the year before and won the Golden Boot Award; we bombed out without him)
    2. Kyle Beckerman 2010 (we desperately needed him in S. Africa and would have advanced past Ghana with his defense and superior ball distribution)
    3. Landon Donovan 2014 (let’s hope the rest of the team will compensate for the loss)

    If I were picking the team, I’d leave off some of the guys responsible for the debacle in Cyprus against Ukraine. John Brooks was torched there. Deandre Yedlin similarly embarrassed. Jermaine Jones was inept; send him to Brazil but don’t start him.


  • Ac31

    On the radio the other day, Twellman commented on how for the past several months Donovan’s comments in the press reflected a lack of commitment and confidence and felt in shows on the pitch. Harkes agreed with the statement.

    I think there is a lot we don’t know about the situation. Based on Donovan’s statements, it seems like he is unlikely to accept a secondary role on the bench. If that was what was offered to him and he reacted poorly, then the cut makes sense.


  • Ah

    Never been that much of a Donovan fan until the last few years. He’s self aware and honest and while I admit he’s lost a step, there is no way Brad Davis has more to offer this team. Very disappointing from Klinsman.

    Regardless, I saw him as a sub and it’s unlikely that his presence or absence makes the difference in us getting out of the group. But you want your coach to field the best 23 and he sure as he’ll has not endeavor end to do that ( Yedlin?!).


  • mikeg

    Klinnsman mentioned to Donovan about being consistent. Donovan mentioned I cannot be consistent 12 days in a row…blah blah blah…Two different thoughts here…Klinnsman from Germany as a player won a world cup and coached to a final 4 world cup in 2006. Donovan did not go through the school of hard knocks in Europe while Klinnsman climbed all the ladders. Donovan preferred the silver spoon he received from MLS. When Klinnsman realized Donovan was bringing his silver spoon to camp in Stanford Klinnsman showed he had the bigger ego.


  • Joe

    If you watch the video on espn of the team after the final 23 were selected it looks like Klinsmann for the second time in 15 months has poisoned the locker room with bad chemistry. Klinsmann’s ludicrous pep talk caught on videotape will become the defining moment of Klinsmann’s time as USMNT coach. Probably the camp was abruptly closed early because Klinsmann’s preference for dual nationals of European origin was threatening to trigger another messy mass mutiny and Klinsmann the used car salesman had to quickly remove the seven losers and reassert authority among the few on the 23-man/boy roster who are not his brown-nosers.


  • El Comandante Klinsmann

    I guess by now Klinsmann is wishing he had included Landon. And it’s only going to get worse. Now even Bradley is disrespecting Donovan.


    • Bac

      What do you mean Bradley is disrespecting Donovan?
      Which Bradley? What was said?


  • justin

    This is an honest question to anybody willing to respond on the forum and please don’t make it snarky. Why is/was everybody so bent out of shape over Landon’s sabbatical? I really don’t get it. People say that he let the team down (like the team risked not qualifying because of his absence) and also that the team didn’t miss him and showed that it doesn’t need him. So which is it really? I happen to live in Cambodia and found it refreshing that Donovan was over here playing soccer barefoot in rice fields with poor Cambodians without tv cameras documenting his “community service.” It seemed like it was an important part of his re-centering as he had completely lost himself as a person from the sounds of his interviews. I think the man’s motives and motivation are being harshly judged by people with very narrow world views. I would prefer to withhold judgment on the motives of all of our players since it’s conjecture and make an assessment based upon their ability to deliver on the field. If LD isn’t physically prepared, leave him home. But to refuse him a WC spot in 2014 based upon a trip that he felt he needed to take over a year ago would be beyond petty to me and I can only hope that has 0% to do with JK’s decision.


    • Bac

      Justin, I’ll respond.
      I personally didn’t have a huge problem with his sabbatical, but at the time I knew it came with certain consequences. Among them that he’d have to deal with any criticism..right or wrong.. and he’d have to earn his spot back…etc..
      Based on JKs comments back then, Landons actions and words to get back in the mix, and the fact that the issue basically died until a few days ago.. I still think JK made this decision based on what HE thought was the right soccer based decision.. based on a number of things.
      If you read any of the earlier comments.. I’m in the vast minority, and got blasted by a few because I don’t think JK is the Devil
      I also don’t have revisionist history..
      I wanted him to make the team..
      But I don’t think this is some conspiracy.. but I’m obviously in the minority


    • Bac

      I’ll add this too Justin, people don’t remember that there were “unnamed sources” .. players that did have a problem with it and made comments about going on without him etc etc..

      But people choose not to recall any of that.. but they choose to recall with remarkable clarity the Strauss article, Bayern, etc…
      They also choose to now place such focus on the German dual nationals… but they choose not to recall that 3 of these 5 got into our system before JK was named coach, and 2 others didn’t make the cut
      They also choose to become obsessed with the argument that this line-up is about the future..yet they choose not to discuss the fact that JK gave Wondo, Beckerman, and Davis shots when they had no Nat Team career.. or that he resurrected Beasleys comeback and did the same with EJ…
      Selective Memory=JK is the Devil


      • justin

        I agree it’s simplistic to say JK is the devil, but that doesn’t mean that he made the Donovan decision purely on playing ability in the present. That’s what the question is here. The fact that he preached that people had to earn it could excuse Donovan’s exclusion if not for the Timmy Chandlers, the Julian Greens, the John Brooks etc. Nobody is saying that they don’t have talent, but it looks like a different standard was given to Donovan than to others. That’s the rub here. And now that Donovan shows nice form for the Galaxy a few days after camp is finished, it reinforces the fact that he’s not washed up and it reinforces his argument that he had a great camp and should be on the plane.


      • Bac

        You make valid points that can be debated without all the mudslinging thats been going on the last few days, most of my responses have been that I just didnt think there was some big personal conspiracy etc…

        Your initial question was about the sabbatical. Looks like I was the only one that took the time to respond, gave you my thoughts..didnt have an issue with it etc..

        The 2nd part I added was to add a 360 degree view to the last 18 months The sabbatical question alone should have some additional context considering the level of hatred and conspiracy theories being thrown out there..my additional points were more directed to those who are only choosing to remember what they want to.. (Like those taking shots at me without even reading the part where I say I WANTED him on the team).. follow me??…

        I asked a rhetorical question to someone yesterday, IF LD would have made it over Wondo, Davis, Bedoya, AJ, or Mix.. would JK still be accused of all these things? Including the double standard talk? I dont know, but I doubt it…
        I DO think JK throws out a lot of coachspeak, but what really matters is what he tells the players individually and collectively, which we DONT hear…
        I also think.. My opinion.. that LD was only competing against the forwards.. thats it..
        I never said I AGREE with the strategy, Ive said I think that I believe JK thinks hes doing what he thinks is best, and he saw LD as forward #5 behind the 4 that made it

        Once again, I dont think hes washed up, I wanted him there, I think JK does throw out a lot of coachspeak.. but I still dont think theres a vendetta conspiracy…

        But after 2 goals and an assist tonite.. a subnuclear meltdown may happen tommorrow


      • GW


        “And now that Donovan shows nice form for the Galaxy a few days after camp is finished, it reinforces the fact that he’s not washed up and it reinforces his argument that he had a great camp and should be on the plane.”

        How does playing well against the crappiest team in MLS tell you that? Is Ghana at the same level as the Union?

        JK never said he was “washed up”. In fact he said he wanted him to stay sharp in case injuries happen and he hopes he will play for him again. You can believe him or not but he did not have to say any of that.

        No player is picked strictly on playing ability alone, just like no one ever gets a job because their skills are clearly the best for the job. There are exceptions, like brain surgery, or bomb disposal but otherwise , for most jobs even that of soccer player, it is always a combination of things both on the field and off the field.

        It’s an equation. You add it all up and you get the total package and apparently JK thinks LD’s package is not as big as Dempsey’s and Bradley’s.

        Talk about personal animosity. Do you think JK was happy with Clint and Mikey slapping him publicy in the face with those return to MLS deals ? The spine of the team?

        But hey, it was too late to do anything before the World Cup, and he needs them so he made the most of it and they were playing well. Clint will be too old but lets see if Mikey makes the next WC squad assuming he stays with TFC.

        Everyone seems to be forgetting that JK himself has a record as a player that is arguably better than LD’s.

        I saw him play quite a bit and in many ways he was more like Wondo than LD. In other words not particularly big, strong fast or athletic. it’s obvious that he was that old cliche, a self made man. And he made himself into a great player through all those commitment things he talks about . That’s why he likes Wondo. He sees a lot of himself in him.

        When he looks at Donovan he sees a guy who might even be more naturally talented than JK himself was but yet seems a lot less hungry. I think he sees him as a wasting his talent. I also think that at 32 and given LD’s local sainthood, as we see now, there was little chance that he could rehabilitate Donovan like he has done with Dempsey by naming him Captain and Jozy by cutting him off for a while.

        I hear talk about JK dropping Mikey for a while too but that was right around the time Mikey was in limbo at Aston Villa and then moved to Italy. I’m pretty sure I remember JK being really happy about that move but also giving Mikey time to get settled into a new country and and a new team.

        I don’t think JK had much time with LD before he went off on his sabbatical and I suspect things went downhill from there.

        As I see it LD was not as big a part of this team in 2013 as he could have been so they just went off and proved they could do pretty well without him. It is of course unsurprising though disappointing to see that so many of you damm the other 23 with faint praise as if what they did w/o LD around meant nothing.
        I wanted LD on this team as much as anyone but I’m mad at him for not making the adjustments. Being a part of any team is largely about skill but there are a whole lot of other factors as well. It is an equation.

        It is up to the employee (LD) to adjust to the new bossman’s(JK) expectations. It’s called earning trust. Given LD’s talent this should not have not have been beyond him.

        Apparently, LD does not understand that the same work place politics that apply to you and me and most of us also apply to him.


  • STX81

    Too bad Landon didn’t show this much passion in his comments during camp.


    • Jesse D

      Considering the have Dempsey listed as a Forward, I would guess yes. That is the formation they play against Ghana.


    • Bac

      Well Stanson, congrats… u got the scoop huh…
      Looks like a new round of opinions and analysis and fighting is about to begin in..


      • stanson

        Here’s the first bit of analysis for you: If Klinsmann’s son was truly a fan and had his jersey in his room, wouldn’t he know how to spell Donovan’s name correctly?


    • Jack

      Yeah I honestly think its pretty clear Jonathan was really just as surprised as anyone.


  • JH

    Hey everyone,

    Check out the link to a good article on 538. This shows stats for and against including Donovan. But all of the against stats are just based on the first seven MLS games of the year which can’t really be compared to previous years as the season is not complete yet. The decider for me is the startling stat showing Donovan as a dominant #1 leader in creating scoring chances in all 2013 USMNT matches. His closest competitor, Zusi only has created nearly half of the chances Donovan has. Based on this, I think JK is crazy for not bringing one of the best players on the team. I still think the US can advance to the round of 16 which will make everyone forget this, but the question will remain that is this US team better with or without Donovan. I say that this team is much better with Donovan on it whether the team makes it to the Quarterfinals or not.

    My final opinion on this is that this is a grudge between JK and LD. I really wonder to what extent LD’s injuries in late 2012, his sabbatical, and the March 2013 sporting news article have any relation to each other. We may find out years from now the true story, but it looks more than personal to me.



  • Sam Nishi

    CAMBODIA Summer ’13 = LOS ANGELES Summer ’14!

    Plain and simple math > Ask BECKERMAN & WONDOLOWSKI where they spent last summer and where they will spend this summer .. ..

    What a NATIONAL SIDE MANAGER demands is far more important than what a self-centered player wished .. .. You had a choice LANDON and you made it .. .. Live with it .. ..


    • Pirithous

      To point out the rather obvious flaw in your “logic,” Donovan spent summer 13 not in Cambodia but being the best player at the Gold Cup (exactly where Beckerman and Wondo spent the summer). He was in Cambodia for the MLS offseason 2012-2013.


  • beachbum

    Class act all the way, great leadership again even when not on the team


  • El Comandante Klinsmann

    We need Carlo Ancelotti like now. Klinsman hates American soccer. He wants to Germanize it.


  • Brett

    You guys are all sheep, doing exactly what Klinsmann wanted when he made the decision. He has stated publicly that he thinks the media lags behind in covering soccer here, and that trickles down to fan interest. Well look at us now. Every sports outlet is talking about the omission and fans are in an uproar of attentiveness ahead of a tournament that usually sees Anricans pulling for front runners instead of their own compatriots.

    JK is killing it right now. I’m all in for this team, Donovan or not.


  • Johan Peeters

    Klinsmann was a player. He will never be a coach. In 2006 he was just a figure-head for a Germany coached by Löw.


  • Jack

    Englands take on this has been kind of funny, seems like every single article is along the lines of “Sunderland flop Jozy Altidore going to Brazil over Donovan.”


  • YouGoddaBeKiddinMe

    I still haven’t gotten over Landon’s omission from the team and I’m still rooting against team USA just to spite Klinsi and US Soccer. They screwed up big time here. This whole thing definitely stinks. Wouldn’t it be funny if Howard, Bradley and Dempsey walked off the team in protest?


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