If you only pay attention to the U.S. men’s national team when the World Cup rolls around, you might be wondering: Where the heck is Landon Donovan?
And it’s fair to wonder that – even if Donovan, 40, hasn’t played professional competitive soccer in a few years – because Donovan was still playing the last time the American men made the World Cup, back in 2014. But if you remember, there was a lot of controversy around him being left off the final roster by then-manager Jurgen Klinsmann. He and Donovan had a pretty tense relationship, to put it lightly.
While Donovan’s final appearance with the national team came later in 2014, he continued to play professionally for various clubs. Most folks who follow MLS remember Donovan as a versatile attacking midfielder for the Los Angeles Galaxy, but late in his career he also had a short stints with Club Leon in Liga MX in 2018 and the San Diego Sockers of the Major Arena Soccer League in 2019. And with that’s when Donovan’s decorated playing career in professional soccer came to a close.
In MLS, Donovan won league championships with the Galaxy. He still holds the all-time MLS assist record with 136 and is second in career goals with 145. The league named its MVP award after him.
On the international stage, it’s easy to argue that he’s one of the best players to ever wear the USMNT kit. Donovan is tied with former teammate Clint Dempsey with 57 goals for the title of the team’s all-time leading goal-scorer. Donovan is, however, the sole-owner of the team’s assist record with 58. He is the only 50-50 player in the USMNT’s history, and accomplished the mark in 157 appearances.
Donovan played in three World Cups and scored five goals in 12 games. And perhaps none was more noteworthy than this one against Algeria in 2010, which pushed the Americans into the knockout stage.
“And Dempsey’s denied again, but Donovan has scored!”
So, to recap, Donovan’s last national team appearance came in 2014, but not in the World Cup. He last played in MLS in 2016, and last played professionally in 2019. Since then, he’s done a bit of broadcasting and coaching – most notably with USL Championship side San Diego Loyal SC, a club that he is also the co-founder of.
U.S. Soccer finally unveiled the hideous USMNT World Cup kits and fans were not happy at all