Landon Donovan, both Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer’s all-time leading scorer, announced on Thursday that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2014 MLS. Donovan made this announcement after scoring the game-winning goal against Bayern Munich. The 32-year old made the announcement less than 24 hours after the victory over the top-tier German Premier League team that earned him MVP honors.
Donovan announced his retirement from the LA Galaxy and professional soccer in a letter to the team website that was posted and shared with fans. In the letter, the face of American soccer stated that the decision to retire at the end of the season came after conversations with those close to him and a lot of thought. Donovan continued to tell fans that the decision comes with mixed emotions, that it is sad to leave soccer, a profession that has brought the superstar so much joy.
The decision to retire opens a new chapter in Donovan’s life. The letter goes on to say that he looks forward to what will come next to challenge him and grow as a person. While there are specific people who Donovan wants to thank, this letter was intended for the fans who have helped make the MLS and soccer in the USA what it is today.
Landon Donovan announced his retirement from the professional pitch as the most decorated men’s player in U.S. Soccer history. After playing in three World Cups, and a key figure in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament and being a major factor in the United States Men’s National Team qualifying for the 2014 World Cup before being left off of the final roster.
While the MLS season is not over, Donovan has tallied 138 goals over the regular season and added 22 postseason goals, the most in MLS history. His 58 assists and 57 goals in international play are also notable U.S. soccer records. Now, as retirement faces Donovan, he will look to close out his soccer career with a sixth MLS Cup championship. Led by Donovan, the Galaxy has seen a summer run, winning four of the last five matches played going into the All-Star game. So far this season, Donovan has netted four goals along with seven assists.
Donovan will now receive a deserved farewell tour in the final months of the MLS season. However, after the season ends, there is strong possibility that the face of USA soccer will not be away from the pitch for too long. Donovan wants to take some time away from the game to relax, but the call of the beautiful game will likely call the forward back.
Instead of as a player, fans may see Donovan as a broadcaster or even a coach. Donovan has stated that he believes that in some capacity or another he would be a coach. Throughout his career, Donovan has been heavily involved with the US Soccer program, and could eventually find himself on the sideline of a youth National Team match calling the shots. With former LA Galaxy teammate David Beckham heading up a future MLS franchise, Donovan may have a job after soccer already lined up.
One could easily call Donovan MLS’s franchise player. The forward has widely been regarded as the player who took Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer to a whole new level, moving USA soccer closer to becoming an international powerhouse. Now with his announced retirement, Landon Donovan and MLS will move into a new era.
Commentary and Photos By Carl Auer