Landon Donovan, the greatest American soccer player in the history of the sport, has joined ESPN as an analyst for its World Cup TV coverage.
Donovan will make his debut on ESPN today at 3pm ET for ESPN’s World Cup Preview Show. The preview show will air for two hours, while Donovan will contribute analysis from the ESPN/ABC studios in Los Angeles.
After being dropped by Jurgen Klinsmann from the World Cup 2014 squad, Donovan will be able to share his analysis and opinions for ESPN. Depending on how results go for the US Men’s National Team, having Donovan in front of the cameras could be Klinsmann’s worst nightmare especially if the US does poorly. Donovan will have an opportunity to criticize and look good at the same time. Or he may decide to be more diplomatic. But for TV viewers, it definitely adds an interesting dimension to see what he’ll say.
The all-time U.S. leader in both goals and assists will preview and analyze the tournament with a particular focus on the U.S. team’s three opening round matches: June 16 vs. Ghana; June 22 vs. Portugal; and June 26 vs. Germany. He will contribute to pre-, halftime and post-match coverage, editions of SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight and other shows.
“Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup because he knows the United States team better than anyone having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “Landon is also one of this country’s biggest sports stars and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our month-long coverage.”
Added Donovan: “I am excited to be joining ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 World Cup from Los Angeles, and I look forward to working with the talented ESPN broadcasters to provide unique insights for our amazing US Soccer fans.”
Donovan, who was part of the final cut in May when the 23-man U.S. roster was set for Brazil, is the all-time leader in goals and assists with the U.S. National Team, scoring 57 goals and adding 58 assists in his 157 games. He has played in 12 World Cup games and scored five career World Cup goals, both U.S. records. A seven-time Honda Player of the Year and four-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, Donovan won both awards in 2009 and 2010.
One of the breakout stars at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Donovan scored three times in the four games that the U.S. played. His goal against Slovenia helped spur a 2-2 draw, and, with the U.S. facing elimination, Donovan scored one of the most famous goals in the history of American soccer in stoppage time to give his team a 1-0 win over Algeria and the top seed in Group C. He then scored on a match-tying penalty kick against Ghana in the Round of 16 before the U.S. eventually lost in extra time.
Donovan appeared in and started every game during both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, scoring in the 2-0 Quarterfinal win over Mexico in 2002. He made his National Team debut in October 2000. Just two weeks ago, Donovan scored two goals in a match for the LA Galaxy to break the all-time Major League Soccer record for regular-season goals scored (now at 137). During his pro career, he has won five MLS Cups, leading the LA Galaxy to three and capturing two while with the San Jose Earthquakes.