Landon Donovan, who was left off of the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) World Cup roster, may find other possibilities that could take the 32-year old to Brazil this summer. Both ESPN and Fox Sports would both jump at the chance to bring the face of American soccer with them to South America for the FIFA tournament. ESPN has the broadcast rights to the tournament this summer and Fox Sports will have the rights for the 2018 tournament. If Donovan wants to head south for the summer, there are options out there for him that could lead the forward to a potential post-soccer career.
However, the Los Angeles Galaxy star may have other ideas. After being snubbed from the 23-man roster, Donovan headed back to the Galaxy and made a statement. Three days after being cut by USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Donovan found the net for two goals against the Philadelphia Union. The first goal broke the Major League Soccer (MLS) scoring record of 134 held by Jeff Cunningham. The second goal was Donovan’s 136th of his career. The goals not only broke the record but also broke a 12-game scoring slump Donovan had been stuck in. Donovan’s performance also won Player of the Week honors from the MLS.
As Donovan left the game against the Union in the 83rd minute he was met with the chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” from the fans in attendance. It was clear that everyone in the stadium did not agree with Klinsmann’s decision to cut Donovan from the team. It is a decision that could potentially determine the future of Klinsmann’s future as the head of US Soccer. If Donovan continues playing hot for the Galaxy and the USMNT struggles or does not make it out of group play, speculation is that Klinsmann may end up on thin ice over the decision to leave the 32-year old off of the roster.
Not going to Brazil this summer, Landon Donovan could have a number of possibilities to add on to his scoring record. However, with the Galaxy forward coming near the end of his playing career, joining one of the many broadcast teams to cover the World Cup this summer could set Donovan up for a career beyond soccer. It is not clear if Donovan wants to go into broadcasting. There is a strong possibility that the soccer world could some day see Coach Donovan roaming the sidelines.
There were numerous reasons that Klinsmann had for not including Donovan as one of the 23 players going to Brazil. The coach did not expect the forward to start or play in every game. Not starting Donovan would have brought more media distractions towards the coach and the team. Fans question this decision after Donovan lead the USMNT squad to victory in the 2013 Gold Cup and was a major factor for the team qualifying for the World Cup. The consensus feeling is that the media distractions would be well worth the distraction if a game winning goal came from the face of USA soccer.
As The USMNT heads into group play against Germany, Portugal and Ghana, Landon Donovan could easily draw the media away from the US coach and team. This could give the team a better possibility of escaping the Group of Death. However, the forward may decide to stay with the Galaxy and do what he can with his club to vault them up in the Western Conference standings while stars from the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake and other teams are in Brazil. Whatever Donovan chooses to do, it is just that, his choice. If the United States fails to make it out of group play this summer, Donovan may not want to be anywhere near Brazil as the world’s soccer media would likely descend on the forward and coach Klinsmann like bee’s to honey.
Commentary by Carl Auer