Or, in American sports jargon, the most recognizable and successful American soccer player ever will retire once the MLS season concludes.
Donovan, currently a forward for the Los Angeles Galaxy, announced via his Facebook page that the time had come.
I will miss all of the teammates who helped me create so many incredible memories on-the-field, and who I have shared many wonderful experiences with off-the-field. I will miss my coaches, at both the club and national team levels, who have helped me develop throughout my career and helped make me the player I am today. However, after spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person.
The move is surprising since Donovan’s not that old at 32. And after a slow start to the MLS season he’s recorded four goals and seven assists, while also earning the MLS All-Star Game MVP award yesterday night after he scored against German powerhouse Bayern Munich.
But U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s dropping of Donovan for the 2014 World Cup roster might have been the prescient moment that Donovan’s career was winding down. Sure, it was only the World Cup (I realize how ridiculously understated that is), but Donovan essentially equated his personal success and image with how he performed for the national team. Klinsmann’s signaling he was done with Donovan coupled with Donovan’s diminishing MLS numbers over the past several seasons make it easier to see how Donovan came to retirement.
Donovan, though, does leave an impressive resume behind. He’s the leader in goals and assists the U.S. team; has the most regular season and postseason goals in MLS history; and won five MLS Cup titles, two Supporters’ Shields (for the MLS team with the highest regular-season points total) and two MLS All-Star Game MVP awards. He was also the Golden Boot winner at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the The Best Young Player of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
That’ll do, Landy, that’ll do.