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Landon Donovan turns 29 today

Landon Donovan 2 (

The kid is all grown up now, and isn't a kid anymore.

We don't generally announce players birthdays on SBI, but with Landon Donovan turning 29 today it felt like a good time to acknowledge the U.S. national team star and to realize just how time has flown by (12 years to be exact) since he won the Golden Ball at the 1999 Under-17 World Cup.

All he's done i the dozen years since is fashion the most successful national team career in team history, while also picking up a few MLS Cups (three to be exact) along the way.

The past year has been a whirlwind for the United States career leader in goals and assists. He enjoyed a stellar showing at the World Cup, and a year ago at this time he was finishing up a dream loan stint with Everton before helping lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to the Supporters Shield.

No, 29 isn't old, but it's a number that reminds us that Donovan's not young anymore, and that we should appreciate these remaining years for arguably the best player in U.S. Soccer history.

There are some obvious choices (like his goal vs. Algeria), but I'll still ask the question. Which Donovan memories stand out the most in your mind? Think he can maintain his high level for another World Cup cycle? Does Donovan turning 29 make you feel old (it's okay to admit it).

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Saw his first national team goal for the senior squad in LA against mexcio. stunned the crowd in the LA Colliseum

    2-0 thay night a sign of wonderful things to come.

  2. I’m 29 right now, so I feel like I grew up with him. To be honest, I really didn’t know much about him until the 2002 World Cup (for obvious reasons). But no, 29 is NOT old, and yes I’m biased.

  3. This has to be his last year in the MLS. He needs to go back to England and a “Brian McBride” in the EPL to keep his top level form for Brazil 2014.

    Seriously, Landon. Out of MLS before you turn 30. Your house in California will still be there in 3-4 years (assuming that the big one doesn’t hit…)

  4. The Brazil goal was possibly the “best” goal the US has scored given the game, opponent, in-game situation, technical skill, and style, and an amazing achievment for Donovan. But as amazing as it was (and it was), it lost a little something historically when Brazil won. The Algeria goal was like a award winning movie. You couldn’t have scripted, casted, and filmed that better.

  5. I think we should file a protest and allow this goal to be credited to Landon Donovan…I’ve seen worse deflections not called an own goal…I think David Villa in WC2010 had one credited to him. LD was ROBBED!!!

  6. I liked the Slovenia goal more. The pure swagger and power shown to roof it over the goalies head instead of trying a dinky little pass across the goalmouth is purely incredible.

  7. Aside from Algeria, at the Sounders v. Galaxy game at Quest last year, I’ll always remember how about 36,000 people simultaneously had internal battles whether to boo him or clap for him. The claps won out, and yeah that was pretty neat.

  8. On my birthday he scored THAT goal against Algeria. I wish I could do something as important for him on his day! Happy birthday, Landon!

  9. Yup…that will always stand out for me too. I found a sick picture of the keeper with his eyes closed as tight as could be looking like he was going to need a new kit as the ball went right over his head.

  10. Not a huge fan, but he deserves all the credit for carrying U.S. soccer on his back for over a decade now, both the pro leagues and the national team. He hasn’t been consistent, but it was a lot to ask of anybody.

  11. I hope that someone makes him a Landy-cake!

    In all serious, although not his most difficult goal, the Algeria finish and ensuing celebration I enjoyed with my friends thanks to him will bring me nostalgic joy for a long time to come.

  12. hard to argue against those two goals. absolutely epic. but i gotta throw in the counterattack against Brazil in 09. i know we didn’t win that game, but that was one of the best counterattacking moves i’ve ever seen, against Brazil no less, the kings of that exact move!

  13. This was fun. Thanks for the article and all the comments by everyone. Here’s a few more memories as the best goals are all spelled out above:

    – Peroxide blond LD takes off his shirt to reveal a sports bra after scoring his 4th goal at his first MLS all star game.
    – Last goal in the Quakes playoff win vs Kansas City when they were down like 4 goals on aggregate
    – Kahn’s finger tip save of his counter at the 02 WC
    – Subbed at Anfield for Leverkusen after going back to Germany
    – Landy-cakes on the Big Soccer boards
    – His FSC promo in a Galaxy shirt upon his return (ouch)
    – The trash talk in 06 being ranked in the top 10 “We win a lot…”
    – The peeing on the field controversy in Mexico
    – Just seeing him for the first time wearing #9 in an Everton uniform??? Nice V-Neck dude.
    – His love affair with Everton supporters on his FB/ Twitter feed
    – The Mexico Lottery commercial with the mustache
    – The Beckham Experiment
    – Him actually taking some time off this winter. Well earned.

    Will always be a fan of the MAN. He’s quality both on and off the field. LD – Thank you and we hope for many years to come.

  14. +1. that was fantastic- EJ looked liked he was going to be content to watch him run w/ everybody else until Landon said ‘come on!’ just brilliant.

  15. Thank you for this post, Ives. I’m getting chills reading everyone’s comments. Landon is a once-in-a-lifetime player, it seems. Love all the memories. Hard to pick a favorite goal!

  16. Tried that too with each of my boys. I thought Desmond (Armstrong)Claudio (Reyna)
    sounded like a great combo-I had the same lack of success!

  17. I’d add to this how he was totally broken up after that Germany loss. I think the footage showed Earnie Stewart comforting him in a “you’ll back at this stage again kid” kind of way. To be so young and expect that the US could and should beat the Mannshaft his character.

  18. The goal against Algeria was huge. If Landon does not score that, the growth of soccer in the US takes a serious hit. I had just finished a 24 hr shift, was at home by myself and about 20 min behind live action. For the last 15 min I was on my knees in front of the tv and when he scored….I lost my $#!T and just remember lying on the floor, not knowing how I got there.

    HOWEVER…when Landon iced mexico in South Korea, he gave the US a trump card that will stand for a long time. Mexico was the team with the tradition, and the wins in CONCACAF. But no mater what the records were at the time, or what happens in the future, when there was a meeting on the worlds stage, and there was one game for all the marbles, it was the USA that won.

  19. How about the penalty off the post against Ghana? That takes some sack, no doubt about it.

    In my opinion, the greatest National Team player we’ve ever had. A bit unfortunate in his club career (I’d argue the greatest there is Freidel), but always a great great player

  20. I forgot that him and I were so close in age. I actually taught his cousin at the University of Washington a while back. It was funny to hear her complain about how annoying “Bianca” was (this was prior to the separation/divorce). Although I’m not a huge fan of him when he plays against the Sounders, I don’t think I could even cut my favorite Donovan moments to below 10. Happy B-Day Landon!

  21. I would say

    1. Goal against Mexico 2002 – Its against your biggest rival on the biggest stage. Does not get any better than that.

    2. Goal against Algeria 2010 – Wins the group with dramatic fashion.

    3. Goal against slovenia 2010 – WANTS the goal! and gets it.

    4. Goal against Brazil 2009 – Absolute beauty of a goal to make Brazil look feeble. Credit davies and others.

    5. Free Kick Ghana – Knock out round and you HAVE to make the goal. Only one person I think we want taking Pks.

    6. Goal against Honduras? – Free kick to go up 3 goals that was badly needed and he owned.

    7. Goal against mexico in the gold cup final from the PK

  22. That goal was freaking awesome! I had never been more down/pissed/frustrated at our national team as when we were down 2-0 to Slovenia and looking like we were going to be run out of a very generous group in the World Cup.

    When LD roofed that goal, all I could say was WOW! Not only was it a ridiculous goal, but the way he finished it … going right through where the goalie’s face was, really sent a message that we weren’t done yet.

    The Algeria goal was one of the top 5 sports moments of my life, from despair to elation in a second, but the Slovenia goal was one of those WOW goals.

  23. I beg to differ, as a DC United fan, we have learned our lesson about making Landon Donovan angry.

    Happy Birthday, Landon. Best wishes for great health and even greater success to come. You are hands down our greatest player and deserve a real shot at some heavy international hardware. Keep up the health and good form, a very decent supporting cast is coming up and with you leading them – Man, I sure would love to see that.

    Oh it’s hard to pick a best goal, but the intent to injure in the Slovenia game was awesome (talk about an emotional lift). The counter on Brazil and his abuse of, was it Melo, with the fake out was sick. But that Alegeia gaol – its moment, its weight and the call was pure magic. I still get goosebumps thinking about it to this day. That was some goal.

  24. That was great, I pretty much remembered every goal. I forgot about the mex. goalie that tried to swiped kick a u.s. player after donovan scored, see it at the 5.10 mark of the video.

  25. Just to throw something else out there, what about his first game against Mexico of the last cycle? Absolutely blazed two defenders (Marquez included) and the goalie (who then lunged at Johnson), and let us know America was still on top.

  26. Slovenia WC leadership. Not just that unstoppable goal, but his leadership of the team. Everyone said it was LD that told his teammates at half time that if they dont think they can come back, they shouldnt bother to play the 2nd half. Then he comes out of the locker room and punctuates the point with one of the most aggressive goals of the tournament. We were, of course, robbed of a W in that game (whatever happened to that ref?), but it was definitely a highlight of USMNT SA2010 performance and Landon’s role among the team.

  27. Good call about the Brazil counter attack goal. I lost it in Shenanigan’s in Ocean City as the only guy interested in that game. Up 2-0 against Brazil in a FIFA final…


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