“I have decided to come out of retirement to play the rest of the 2016 MLS season with the LA Galaxy,” said Donovan. “An opportunity opened up and after discussing it with those close to me, it felt like the right decision to return to a club that has meant so much to me. I am very excited to be back and I will do everything I can to help the Galaxy, both on and off the field.”
Donovan, 34, is Major League Soccer’s most accomplished player of all time with records in goals (144), assists (136), game-winning goals (41), game-winning assists (T-41), multi-goal games (32), playoff goals (25), playoff assists (T-14) and MLS Cup trophies (six).
Donovan will begin training with the LA Galaxy on Friday and be available for selection when the Galaxy host Orlando City SC at StubHub Center on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. PT live on FS1 and Fox Deportes.
“I don’t think I need to tell anyone what Landon has accomplished in our sport,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. “He’s truly been a great player. Now, Landon wishes to take on another challenge and I believe he has all the qualities necessary to be a player who can help the LA Galaxy in 2016.”
On Aug. 7, 2014, Donovan announced his plan to retire from professional soccer at the conclusion of the season. That year, he went on to lead LA to their fifth MLS Cup victory as the Galaxy became the first club to capture five MLS Cup trophies. In 2014, Donovan recorded one of his best seasons in MLS, notching 10 goals and a career-high 19 assists. He returns to the club as the Galaxy’s all-time leader in goals (112) and assists (107). He is second in all-time appearances for LA at 247, behind only Cobi Jones.
The Galaxy legend returns to MLS with six MLS Cups (2001, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014), a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2005) and two MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011). Individually, he was 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 Landon Donovan MVP Award (2009) and won the Golden Boot (2008) as well as being one of just two players to be named MLS Cup MVP twice (2003, 2011). Donovan is also the leading scorer in MLS All-Star history (six goals) and has been named MLS All-Star MVP twice (2001, 2014).
“Landon is an iconic figure to the LA Galaxy and the city of Los Angeles,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “He still has a desire to compete and help this club win another championship. We look forward to seeing him represent the Galaxy once again this year.”
Fortunately, Donovan has previously played alongside 15 of the Galaxy’s current 27 players, so the adjustment period may be shorter than one might suspect.
What nobody knows, however, is just what kind of fitness level Donovan has maintained in his retirement.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services