CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan's legacy is assured now, but there was a point when his status as the greatest American soccer player was in doubt.
Prior to end of the 2009 season, Donovan had a lukewarm relationship with U.S. fans who basked in his accomplishments for the U.S. National Team, but still felt that America's greatest soccer player should test himself abroad rather than stay in MLS. Donovan had succeeded winning three MLS Cups, but failed stints in Germany led to criticism for the star midfielder.
Fast forward to 2014 and the perception of Donovan has clearly evolved. Donovan enjoyed a pair of successful loan stints with English Premier League side Everton, won two more MLS Cups with the LA Galaxy and provided U.S. Soccer with its watershed moment with his iconic goal in the 2010 World Cup against Algeria. When the Galaxy star was omitted from the U.S. national team's roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, an upspring of popular support flowed for Donovan.
During his press conference on Wednesday, Donovan addressed his role in growing MLS and how the preception of his decision to remain in the league through the years changed.
"The perception of playing in the Major League Soccer has certainly changed. I think when you see the success of the teams here and the players here, the level of plays, the talents, and the desire for players in the other world to make this the league of choice if they want to play in, it’s important. I played here, the majority of my career with this squad because I wanted to be happy," said Donovan. " And my happiness always lay here playing close to my friends and family. I always thought it was much more important to be here doing that, than be lost in the shuffle somewhere in Europe or elsewhere. So, that for me was the perfect fit. It doesn’t mean that it is everyone’s choice, and that’s ok. But, for me, that was the perfect fit. I was fortunate that had some people who wanted come along and join the journey with me."
But once the final ball has been kicked in 2014, what will be next for America's greatest soccer player?
Donovan insisted that he hopes to travel with his girlfriend Hannah, but after that he's hoping to play role in youth development with the Galaxy going forward.
"I absolutely want to work with kids," said Donovan. "I spoke to [Chris] Klein extensively about working with the academy, and that for me will be a really good way to come closer to home. I fully expect that it will happen at some point."
And when Donovan decides he wants to return, Klein and AEG President Dan Beckerman insist that the club will welcome him back with open arms.
"Landon will always be the member of the LA Galaxy, always be the member of the AEG family, and when he decides what it is that he wants to do—what he wants to put his energy and heart into next—we will be there to talk to him about that," said Klein.
Added Beckerman, "Landon will be able to do whatever he wants. He has accomplished so much on the field, and for the love of the game. He will be able to do whatever he wants, whether that is working with the kids or working with the Galaxy. Whatever he does, he will obviously be successful. He is the best American player in the history of this country, and he will be equally successful in what he decides to do in the next chapter of his life."
CARSON, Calif. -- U.S. international Stuart Holden is training with the LA Galaxy, but according to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, the Galaxy are not interested in the midfielder.
Holden was spotted training with the Galaxy on Thursday as he looks to recover from a March surgery to repair ligaments on his right knee. The U.S. international's club Bolton Wanderers revealed after the surgery that the former Houston Dynamo midfielder will be out for six to nine months.
When asked if the club was interested in the oft-injured Holden, Arena denied any link, instead insisting that LA are simply allowing the player to train as he prepares for a return to England.
"He's just a player that is working his way back from injury," said Arena.
The plans for Holden to train with the Galaxy were in the works for several days according an interview that Holden held with ESPN FC earlier in the week. During his conversation with ESPN FC's Dan Thomas, Holden confirmed that he is worked with Galaxy Head Trainer and Director of Sports Science Armando Rivas, but is intending to return to Bolton.
"Technically I'm out of contract, but there's been discussions. I still feel the loyality [to Bolton] and I still want to go back there if we can make it work. There's no formal contract offer for me right now, but it's been the plan all along that I will be going back there when I'm fully ready to play and get into full training," said Holden. "I look forward to getting back there and get over all the struggles that I've had over the last couple years and have a healthy run at it."
The LA Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes for the first and only time at the StubHub Center on Friday in what will be Landon Donovan's final home game against his former club.
In the latest edition of "By the Numbers" we look into the match between the Galaxy and San Jose as well as Donovan's impact on both clubs.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy nearly added a player at the MLS transfer deadline, but according to head coach and general manager Bruce Arena, "forces" in the league prevented them from completing a move.
Reports surfaced on Wednesday that the Galaxy had signed U.S. international Sacha Kljestan, but the move did not materialize before the deadline which Kljestan tweeting that he was still a member of Belgian club RSC Anderlecht. Following practice on Thursday, Arena did not address whether it was Kljestan that the Galaxy were after, but admitted that LA nearly completed a transfer move at the deadline.
"We came close. There were just forces in the league that prevented us from doing it," said Arena. "I won't go into the details, but that's the reason. Our organization did everything possible to secure a player and unfortunately there were forces fighting really hard to not allow that to happen. Subsequently it didn't.
"We did everything possible to acquire a player and probably should have been able to do that."
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
The LA Galaxy midfielder announced via his personal Facebook page on Thursday morning that he’ll be retiring from the sport of soccer at the end of the 2014 MLS season. The all-time leading goal scorer for MLS and the U.S. National Team, Donovan has four goals and seven assists this season.
Donovan is expected to speak at a press conference at StubHub Center on Thursday.
Landon Donovan proved to be the hero of MLS yet again on Wednesday evening.
In a brief cameo, Donovan scored the game-winning goal in the 70th minute as the MLS All-Stars defeated the reigning German champions FC Bayern Munich 2-1 at Providence Park in Portland. For his strike, Donovan was awarded the MLS All-Star Game MVP award. Bradley Wright-Phillips added the first goal for the All-Stars while Robert Lewandowski scored the lone goal for the Germans.
With the score tied at one goal apiece, Donovan broke the deadlock in the 70th minute with stellar finish past Germany World Cup champion goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the game-winning strike after a pass from Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri. After scoring the eventual game winner, Donovan was promptly pulled from the match after his brief 26 minute appearance.
Omar Gonzalez was not available for the match, but the Galaxy defender was present for the match as he was honored after the game along with the rest of the MLS and Bayern Munich members of the U.S. World Cup squad.