Landon Donovan was back with the Galaxy on Wednesday, suiting up for his first game with the defending Western Conference champs since re-joining the team from Everton.
The match was far removed from what he’d been used to. Instead of a top-tier EPL club, Donovan played 90 minutes against the not-so-vaunted Hollywood United. Still, Donovan said he felt happy to be back home -- for the most part.
“It was a little bittersweet to leave, but the reality was that the agreement all along was for me to be there until March 15,” Donovan said in a press conference. “I’m a big part of this team and I understand that and I enjoy being a part of this team. I wouldn’t have made the commitment I did to this team if I didn't want to be here.”
Donovan’s time in England was more than successful, as he earned rave reviews for his play. Everton were seemingly a better side with him in the mix as the American international helped the Toffees climb the EPL table.
Having helped the club improve, Donovan said he wasn’t quite ready to go.
“Obviously, you get caught up in what is going on and it's fun and exciting to be a part of what I was just a part of,” he said. “You can't mirror that in any way, you can't duplicate that, but the reality is that I'm very excited to be home. If fate comes around again and I'm meant to go back there, then I'll go back there.”
Still, there is a chance Donovan could go right back to Everton. If a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is not agreed upon in the coming week, an MLS work stoppage could free up Donovan to return to Goodison Park.
“There's nothing concrete set up. I think we've all been clear about the possibility that I could go back if something happens,” he said. “It's kind of, ‘We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.’ Right now, everyone on this side of the pond is still hopeful that we can still get a deal done.”
Already a star before his trip to Everton, Donovan raised his game another level in England. But what did Donovan learn from the whole experience?
“I think confidence has been the biggest thing,” he said. “Throughout the years, I've had the opportunity to play in some big games and in some big moments to do well, but what you get there is every week is a massive game. It means so much. The ability to succeed there week after week, playing against some of the biggest players in the world and succeeding gives you a lot of confidence.”
Improvements can be made, Donovan said, but only so many.
“I'm not going to technically become a better player at 28,” he said. “But probably tactically, I learned, and some things about myself, on and off the field and I think it'll help me a lot.”