Landon Donovan is heading into the next stage of this post-playing career.
New USL Championship side San Diego Loyal announced Thursday they’ve named Donovan as manager and executive Vice President of soccer operations. Loyal SC will begin play in March 2020 and will play home matches at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium.
“I am truly honored to be named the first manager in San Diego Loyal history,” Donovan said in a club release. “This is the right place, at the right time, with the right people for me to begin my managerial career. I am extremely grateful to The Locals [supporters group] and all of our amazing fans for putting their faith in me to help build a club that is authentically San Diegan. Together, we will put forward a product that all of San Diego can be proud of and that will bring smiles to countless faces.”
The 37-year-old comes into the positions after being a member of the club’s ownership group. He has also been involved in past efforts to bring an MLS expansion franchise to San Diego, where he’s lived for he last few years.
Donovan is still in the process of attaining his coaching licenses from U.S. Soccer and is expected to complete that by the end of the 2020 season.
The face of the USMNT for several years, Donovan ended his playing career earlier this year. Donovan previously held the MLS all-time goalscoring record of 145 regular-season goals, before San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski broke it earlier this MLS season.
“There are no names more synonymous with men’s soccer in the U.S. than Landon Donovan,” San Diego Loyal Chairman Andrew Vassiliadis said. “Landon’s talent and knowledge of the game goes beyond just his skills as a player; during all those years he was a student of the sport and developed relationships within the industry that will be vital to us as we launch our club and assemble its first roster. We are honored to have him lead our technical side, both on and off the pitch.”
Donovan will be joined by Sacramento Republic FC and Luton Town coach Paul Buckle, retired U.S. Women’s National Team player and former NCAA coach Shannon Mac Millan and Sports Performance Consultant Jesse Saenz. San Diego Loyal’s technical staff will notably include Carrie Taylor, whom is believed to be the first woman to work on a U.S. professional men’s coaching staff.