Landon Donovan will retire at the end of the 2014 MLS season, confirmed a statement by LA Galaxy.
According to the statement on the club website, Donovan wrote:
“After careful deliberation and many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last year as a professional soccer player,” said Donovan. “It has been more than anything I could have dreamed of to represent the LA Galaxy, the San Jose Earthquakes, Everton, U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer throughout my career. There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey. I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.”
Donovan played in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Portland, and scored the winning goal for the MLS All-Stars. After the match ended 2-1 to the MLS team, Donovan received the man of the match award, but didn’t offer any hints regarding today’s announcement.
The 32-year old midfielder wasn’t selected for the 2014 USMNT World Cup team. And despite LA Galaxy performing well in MLS, Head Coach Bruce Arena hasn’t been giving Donovan a lot of playing time in recent weeks.
“Landon Donovan is one of the most significant figures in the history of soccer in the United States,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. “His influence on MLS and soccer in this country will continue to be felt for many years to come. As both a player and a person, Landon has been an incredible representative of the LA Galaxy, MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team and it has been my honor coaching him. We respect his decision to retire at the end of the season and look forward to competing for another MLS Cup and celebrating his outstanding career.”
Donovan leads the U.S. Men’s National Team in goals (57) and assists (58) and is the only American player to surpass both 50 goals and assists in his career. His 156 appearances are second-most all time in U.S. history. In June of 2008, he became the fastest American to ever earn 100 caps for the United States and the fourth fastest player in history to play in 100 matches for his country. A veteran of three FIFA World Cups, his five goals in World Cup matches are the most by any American player and he is the only American to win the Golden Ball Award at a FIFA tournament, earning that honor at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 1999. Donovan has been named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year a record four times (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010), FIFA’s Best Young Player of the World Cup (2002), the CONCACAF Gold Cup MVP (2013) and to the Gold Cup Best XI four times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2013). Additionally, he is the all-time leading scorer in the CONCACAF Gold Cup with 18 goals, helped the U.S. to four of its five ever Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007, 2013).