U.S. Men's National Team

Donovan to retire at end of season

Landon Donovan

Photo by ISIphotos.com


The 2014 MLS All-Star Game saw Landon Donovan come off the bench and score the game-winning goal. It was also the last time he will play in that event.

Donovan, 32, has announced he will retire at the conclusion of the 2014 season, ending a legendary 14-year career in which he became the MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team all-time leading scorer. The announcement comes a day after Donovan netted the winner in the MLS All-Stars’ 2-1 triumph against Bayern Munich in Portland, Oregon, as a substitute.

“After careful deliberation and many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last year as a professional soccer player,” said Donovan in a statement. “It has been more than anything I could have dreamed of to represent the LA Galaxy, the San Jose Earthquakes, Everton, U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer throughout my career. There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey.

“I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.”

Donovan currently has an MLS record 138 goals and has won five MLS Cups, two MLS Supporters’ Shields and one Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He was named to 14 consecutive MLS All-Star games and the MLS Best XI six times, crowned MLS MVP in 2009 and won the Golden Boot a year later. Additionally, he twice won the MLS Cup MVP award.

“Landon Donovan is one of the most significant figures in the history of soccer in the United States,” said LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena in a statement. “His influence on MLS and soccer in this country will continue to be felt for many years to come. As both a player and a person, Landon has been an incredible representative of the LA Galaxy, MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team and it has been my honor coaching him.

“We respect his decision to retire at the end of the season and look forward to competing for another MLS Cup and celebrating his outstanding career.”

Donovan missed out on this summer’s World Cup, but still has notable accomplishments in the tournament and with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He is first all-time in goals scored and assisted for the U.S. and second all-time in number of caps earned. His last-gasp winner against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup remains one of the more memorable moments in U.S. Soccer history.

He intends to remain in soccer after his retirement.

“I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career, and while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game,” said Donovan. “As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States.”


What do you think of Donovan’s decision to retire at season’s end? Surprised? What’s your favorite Donovan moment?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Btown

    The GOAT. Thanks Landon. You singlehandedly got me interested into soccer and I fully regret not growing up learning the beautiful game. Instead I learned to play basketball and while I will never regret playing competitive bball in a way I wish I could have played soccer as well. I will miss your great first touch, your vision, your unselfishness, your great passes into space, your crazy speed as a youngster, and also your honesty as a person. Thanks LD!


  • Natsalways

    I hate how many negative comments there are on this thread. Landon provided several of the greatest moments of my >20 years as a USMNT fan. Thank you for the memories, Landon, we were blessed to have you!


  • DB

    It amazes me that no one talks about the one thing he absolutely could have provided the USMNT in Brazil…

    …good set-piece service.

    Other than Zusi’s flash of brilliance on the JAB goal, it was atrocious.

    In any case, it’s been a fun ride. Too bad they’ll likely be no USMNT send-off.


  • Mueller

    Never was a big Donovan fan. Still comes off as a over-hyped spoiled brat. Hopefully his retirement makes room for Jones and Villarreal.


      • Mueller

        For me club career is more important than national team because players play a lot more games for their clubs. He spent most his career playing JV so I don’t really know how to rate it.

        As for his national team numbers, He has had a great USMNT career but I think it is as much a part of the US Soccer’s lack of scouting and player development, the weakness of competition, and a bunch of penalty kicks as it has to do with him.

        Personally I think Dempsey and a few others are as good or better players.


      • Nate

        Donovan is 32 and clint is 31. Donovan debuted in MLS at age 19 in 2001. Dempsey did not start in MLS until 2004 at age 21 and by that time, Donovan had won two championships and had been named MVP of the league, something that Dempsey never did in his 3 years at New England. You then speak of his career at mid table fulham as if here were Ian Wright, or Ian Rush, but he was an average contributer at best. He did not get regular minutes with the Nats until 2006, when he was already 23. By this time, Donovan had lead the US to its greates ever world cup finish in 2002 (when clint was 19).


      • Mueller

        So what is your point? That the US system failed Clint and Donovan got more opportunities at an earlier days because he was one of the chosen few.

        Titles and MVPs in MLS don’t mean anything to me because the league is of a low standard (and I am not a Eurosnob. I have MLS Live and watch most of the games). For me, all those accolades are like winning a FIFA video game 14-0 on the lowest level..

        How do you compare a couple of month loan to a career in one of the top leagues in the world? And he wasn’t as good as everyone thinks because if he was someone would have put in a big offer for him.


      • Diego's Maradoughnuts

        Donovan did not “lead” the 2002 team. Disrespectful to guys like Claudio Reyna and John O’Brien, who did the heavy lifting at that tournament. LD was an up-and-coming young player who had a good tournament and scored a consolation goal against Poland and an insurance goal against Mexico. He played very well, but was hardly the leader.


  • Dr.K

    I guess that Kevin Durant is a jerk just like Donovan for wanting to take some time off and abandoning his teamates? I guess Durant should never be allowed to represent the USA again just like Donovan. I guess Durants manhood must be questioned just like Donovan? Or maybe taking time off is O.K.? Honesty should not be a liability.


  • josh

    I cannot believe some of the stuff I am reading on here. Anyone who says Landon sucks or that he didn’t reach his full potential get a grip. How does anyone know what his exact potential would be in the first place? Landon is the best field player the US has ever had. And you know what, it is not even close. Sure Dempsey is good but Donovan is great.


  • Pace

    Jeez guys, the debates over his exclusion from the World Cup squad have made many of you forget that he is the greatest player that we as a country have ever produced, and the most important. We should be celebrating his career, not bickering over whether he would have made more of a difference than brad Davis.


  • MIKE R

    Thanks Landon for your great contribution to the sport and for being the face of US soccer.
    The greatest US field player to date…Dempsey is right there also. but my god 18 years old in 02.
    Thanks for being a huge part of the dos a cero legacy.

    Thanks for the memories. your only 32 but going on your terms..doing it your way…Sinatra wuld be proud


  • Smacking

    Really disappointed he won’t be in the northeast (or close by on a weekend) the rest of the season. All the more reason for a US testimonial match or tour.


  • onlyagame

    Hope to see a championship and playoffs mvp

    and some more commercials and commentary in the futre


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