CARSON, Calif. – The career of Landon Donovan has officially come to an end.
The dramatic goal scorer in the 2010 World Cup, the petulant blonde-haired youngster who stole the show at the 2002 World Cup, the six-time MLS Cup champion, all of it has run its course.
And what a ride it was.
On Sunday, Donovan’s career came to an end as the LA Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 in an extra time battle in front of 27,000 at StubHub Center. There were no goals for Donovan, but to go out a champion was a fitting end to a career that has spanned 531 appearances, 226 goals, and 208 assists for club and country—all of which are records.
Afterwards, the raw emotion from Donovan was clear as he collapsed then proceeded to run a victory lap around the StubHub Center with fans chanting “One More Year!” at their hero.
The joy that Donovan felt, however, was soon replaced by a sense of uncertainty for whatever lies ahead next as he even joked that he might be around next year.
"I'm in a little bit of a daze, to be honest," a champagne-drenched Donovan told reporters during his postgame press conference. "I don't know. There's a lot going on. There's a lot of obvious excitement, some sadness, there's uncertainty, and just pure joy for this team and for what we did.
"There is no experience like what just happened. If you work a desk job or a 9 to 5 job there is no experience where you get to feel that. I can't imagine anything will replace it."
For more than 15 years, Donovan wowed American fans with his speed, finish and cunning. No, he wasn’t the classic athlete who focused solely on his exploits on the field; Donovan was the more introspective sort whose greater self-identity stretched farther than the pitch.
“It feels great. As much excitement there is about the game, there is excitement that tomorrow I don’t have to train anymore,” Donovan said. “I don’t have to do a lot of the not fun parts of the jobs anymore. But, I also don’t get experiences like today anymore either. There is a lot of good; there is going to be some bad. It feels good.
"The feeling at the final whistle is so mixed up. Just wrapped up with so many different emotions."
Now that it’s all over, it’ll be up to the pundits to decide how to accurately measure Donovan’s legacy.
Will it be as the champion of six MLS Cups or as the player that helped bring the sport of soccer into prominence in the United States?
But how does Donovan wish to be remembered?
“I’ve just always tried to be a good teammate, tried to be a winner. I know I’m not always perfect, but I’ve been fortunate in my career to play for great coaches, none better than the guy sitting down there. With great players, none better than the guy sitting to my right,” said Donovan referencing Robbie Keane two days before the final. “All of that has made for a really special career. At the end of it all I realize I could have played on teams that were not as successful. I’ve been very fortunate. I’m proud of what I’ve done. I’ve tried to be a good teammate, a good friend to people. That’s what’s been most important to me.”
Just how his career will be judged in the future remains to be seen, but one can surely say that it was honor to cover American soccer’s greatest star for the past five years.
Good luck in the future, Landon.
We’ll all be watching.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.