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Landon Donovan: ‘I won’t fail’ at Club Leon

There are plenty of reasons to have doubts about Landon Donovan’s move to Club Leon. The U.S. Men’s National Team legend has been out of the game for the better part of three years and is now set to join a rugged, physical league that still remains a step ahead of MLS.

But if there were any lingering doubts about Donovan’s commitment, the 35-year-old forward addressed them in a few simple statements.

“Being human you actually have fear of failure and that was one of the first things that came to mind [when the opportunity to sign with Leon came up],” Donovan said in a news conference, according to ESPN.

“I know that if I commit myself to this there is no chance of failure so it’s important for me to make sure I commit myself. If I come and do it halfway, I could fail. If I do it three-quarters of the way with my age, I could fail. If I do it all-in with all my heart, I won’t fail.”

The move was one that happened quickly, and Donovan insists it felt that way for him as well. The veteran forward says he wasn’t sitting at home pondering a return, but the opportunity felt right because it seemed so “special”.

Donovan says he spoke with a group of USMNT regulars that have called Mexico home, including Marcelo Balboa, DaMarcus Beasley and Omar Gonzalez.

“They’re going to love Landon. The people in Leon are going to love Landon and the the people he plays against are going to hate him. That’s just what it is,” Balboa said, according to Goal USA. “When I played for the U.S. and Leon, and I got killed when I went to America or Toros Neza or Veracruz, people hated me because I was the American center back. The good thing is they all thought that I was (Alexi) Lalas so I didn’t care.

“I think there was a time when (Donovan) was younger, and all the stuff that happened at Azteca, where Mexicans hated him. But they respect him.”

Donovan will look to continue to earn that respect when his time with the club officially kicks off following Monday’s unveiling. He’ll certainly need some time to get match-fit and to adjust to the Mexican game when that time does come.

But Donovan set the bar high heading into his Leon stint.

“I’m here to play, win games and be champion,” said Donovan.

Here’s a closer look at Donovan’s unveiling.


  1. clearly, all of you saying he will fail are doing so because you never liked him to begin with, which is fine i guess! I would just say that it’s not smart to doubt our nations best ever player, especially when he knows what’s at stake and that people are doubting him in spades. He’ll be rusty early because of the lay off, but that may also be the reason he does well!

  2. it shows the level of LANDON DONOVAN….a double retiree can STILL get picked up by a Liga MX club like LEON. Respect LD…..wish you all the best!!!!!

  3. I think people underestimate how much Trump motivates this move. I dig it. He wants to show that “there are no walls” and that us Yanks aren’t all bad.

    • I love it! I have been a harsh critic of him, but I love this move and it seems like he has the right mindset. He appears to want to play and why not if he is healthy and can contribute? Could still have one good year left in the tank and if utilized properly, I bet he proves to be an effective super sub and scores a few goals and grabs some assists.

  4. I don’t have an opinion on how he will do, if he wants it and his body holds up, obviously he will do VERY well…only a troll would doubt that.

    I wonder how this came about? Could the Sounders have convinced him?
    Did he have to leave MLS because of some reason? Didn’t want LA and they had the rights?

    Obviously I want to see him win the MVP trophy, while they hand out “his” trophy in MLS, just for the humor of it.

  5. He’s going to fail. His regressing form was evident back then in the season leading up to Brazil 2014. If he wasn’t at the top of his game back in 2014, how is he going to do it now 4 years later and been out of the game a few years?

    Has he seen the leniency in which severe fouls are punished (or not punished) in Liga MX? Anywhere in the world, guys going in 50/50 ball with studs up would be red carded, but in Mexico, its all game.

    • I can’t tell if you’re butthurt or just stupid. If Donovan survived mls, a league known for the lack of skills, physicality and no refereeing standards, then he should have no problem making it in the most technical league in the region and the one with actual referees.


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