LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan to retire from soccer at the end of 2014 MLS season

August 7, 2014

In a bit of a surprise development considering he still has the ability to compete at a high level, Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan announced today that he will retire from professional soccer following the 2014 season. Donovan, the most accomplished player in MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team history, will finish his career after 14 years in Major League Soccer.

Donovan seemingly had thoughts of retiring at the end of last season when he took a sabbatical to rest his body and mind. That break from the sport caused him to fall out of favor with U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who left Donovan -- perhaps to the U.S. Team's detriment -- off of the 2014 World Cup squad.

“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, 32, has been one of the key figures in growing soccer's popularity in the U.S., not only because of his talent and scoring ability, but also because he chose to play the majority of his professional career at home in front of his American fans.

He has scored four goals and added seven assists in 17 MLS appearances this year.

“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.”

While representing his country, Donovan was a part of one of the most iconic moments in U.S. soccer history when he scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time against Algeria in the 2010 FIFA World Cup that sent the U.S. Men’s National Team into the Round of 16.

Donovan has scored an MLS-record 138 goals and recorded 124 assists to date. He is a winner of five MLS Cups (2001, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2012), a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2005), and two MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011).

Individually, he has been named to an MLS record 14 consecutive MLS All-Star games (2001-2014), the MLS Best XI six times (2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), the MLS MVP and won the Golden Boot (2008) as well as two MLS Cup MVP awards (2003, 2011). In addition to his record 138 MLS goals, Donovan is the leading scorer in MLS Playoff history with 22 goals. Donovan is also the leading scorer in MLS All-Star history (six goals), and has been named MLS All-Star MVP twice (2001, 2014).

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).

Born in Ontario, California, Donovan began his professional career when he signed with Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 1999, where he went on to make 28 appearances and score nine goals before he was loaned to MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. In his first year with the Earthquakes, Donovan scored seven goals and added 10 assists en route to leading San Jose to its first MLS Cup. In 2003, his 12 goals and seven assists led the Earthquakes to its second MLS Cup victory, where Donovan earned his first MLS Cup MVP honors.

Donovan joined his hometown club LA Galaxy in 2005, scoring 12 goals and recording 10 assists as the club won the MLS Cup that year, which marked Donovan’s third championship in five years. He has remained with the Galaxy since then and has become the club’s all-time leader in goals (106) and assists (95). He has led the Galaxy to some of its highest achievements, including three MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and a U.S. Lamar Hunt Open Cup. While a member of the Galaxy, Donovan spent time on loan with Bayern Munich (2009) and Everton (2010, 2012).

By Staff of and news services

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