CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, Aug. 7 2014) – LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan announced today that he will retire from professional soccer following the 2014 season. Donovan, the most accomplished player in MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team history, will finish his career after 14 years in Major League Soccer.
“After careful deliberation and many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last year as a professional soccer player,” said Donovan. “It has been more than anything I could have dreamed of to represent the LA Galaxy, the San Jose Earthquakes, Everton, U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer throughout my career. There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey. I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.”
Donovan, 32, has scored an MLS-record 138 goals and recorded 124 assists to date. He is a winner of five MLS Cups (2001, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2012), a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2005) and two MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011). Individually, he has been 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 MLS MVP (2009) and won the Golden Boot (2008) as well as being the only two-time MLS Cup MVP winner (2003, 2011). In addition to his record 138 MLS goals, Donovan is also the leading scorer in MLS Playoff history with 22 goals. 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 Donovan is one of the most significant figures in the history of soccer in the United States,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. “His influence on MLS and soccer in this country will continue to be felt for many years to come. As both a player and a person, Landon has been an incredible representative of the LA Galaxy, MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team and it has been my honor coaching him. We respect his decision to retire at the end of the season and look forward to competing for another MLS Cup and celebrating his outstanding career.”
Donovan leads the U.S. Men’s National Team in goals (57) and assists (58) and is the only American player to surpass both 50 goals and assists in his career. His 156 appearances are second-most all time in U.S. history. In June of 2008, he became the fastest American to ever earn 100 caps for the United States and the fourth fastest player in history to play in 100 matches for his country. A veteran of three FIFA World Cups, his five goals in World Cup matches are the most by any American player and he is the only American to win the Golden Ball Award at a FIFA tournament, earning that honor at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 1999. Donovan has been named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year a record four times (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010), FIFA’s Best Young Player of the World Cup (2002), the CONCACAF Gold Cup MVP (2013) and to the Gold Cup Best XI four times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2013). Additionally, he is the all-time leading scorer in the CONCACAF Gold Cup with 18 goals, helped the U.S. to four of its five ever Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007, 2013).
While representing his country, Donovan was a part of one of the most iconic moments in U.S. soccer history when he scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time against Algeria in the 2010 FIFA World Cup that sent the U.S. Men’s National Team into the Round of 16.
Born in Ontario, California, Donovan began his professional career when he signed with Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 1999, where he went on to make 28 appearances and score nine goals before he was loaned to MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. In his first year with the Earthquakes, Donovan scored seven goals and added 10 assists en route to leading San Jose to its first MLS Cup. In 2003, his 12 goals and seven assists led the Earthquakes to its second MLS Cup victory, where Donovan earned his first MLS Cup MVP honors.
Donovan joined his hometown club LA Galaxy in 2005, scoring 12 goals and recording 10 assists as the club won the MLS Cup that year, which marked Donovan’s third championship in five years. He has remained with the Galaxy since then and has become the club’s all-time leader in goals (106) and assists (95). He has led the Galaxy to some of its highest achievements, including three MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and a U.S. Lamar Hunt Open Cup. While a member of the Galaxy, Donovan spent time on loan with Bayern Munich (2009) and Everton (2010, 2012).
The longest-tenured Galaxy player, Donovan attended Redlands High School and Redlands East Valley High School. He was accepted into the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) in 1997 and attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida in 1999.
With 299 starts in his 320 MLS appearances, Donovan could make his 300th MLS start when the Galaxy take on the San Jose Earthquakes Friday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m. PT live on the NBC Sports Network. In 2014, he has scored four goals and added seven assists in 17 MLS appearances.
The Galaxy will launch a special portion of the website dedicated to Donovan at www.lagalaxy.com/landonthat will run through the rest of the year. Fans can also go to www.lagalaxy.com/thanksLDto write a personalized message to the Galaxy forward with the opportunity to have their note included in a book that will be given to him at the end of the season.
Fans are also encouraged to show their appreciation for the Galaxy’s all-time leading scorer using the hashtag #ThanksLD on social media platforms.