CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan holds most the major scoring records for club and country, but now as he prepares to retire at the end of the season, he’s hoping to add one more honor to his illustrious career—a sixth MLS Cup title.
Donovan announced that he would retire at the end of the 2014 season, calling time on a career that has spanned 15 years and seen the forward from Redlands, California blossom into the greatest U.S. soccer player of all-time.
As he prepares to walk away from the game, Donovan admitted that he felt that he had nothing left to prove, but winning a final MLS Cup title would prove to be a fitting end to an American soccer legend.
“The time is right for me,” said Donovan. “I made this decision couple of weeks ago at the Seattle game. The way I felt and played and enjoyed myself since, I think, was reflective of some of the weight being lifted off of my shoulders. Now it’s time to enjoy the rest of the season. And, there will be no better way than to go out a champion, so that is my hope is to make it happen.”
Donovan informed his teammates prior to the club’s training session on Wednesday in what he described as an extremely emotional experience for him and the team. For left back Todd Dunivant, a teammate of Donovan’s since their days with the San Jose Earthquakes, the decision came as a shock.
“It’s sad for us but that’s his decision and we’re behind him and we support him. We want to finish these last months on a high note for him,” said Dunivant. “I was surprised. He’s talked a lot about how things have changed and he’s starting to feel like it’s time, but you just think that’s talk and he’ll come around. He’s made up his mind and you can’t fault him for that.”
“Obviously, we’d love to send him out on top,” he continued. “That doesn’t change our end goal, but it is a little extra incentive to send him out a champion.”
Galaxy captain Robbie Keane shared Dunivant’s sentiment when asked about Donovan’s rousing announcement, “From now and the end of the season we have a job to do which is to try and become champions. I’m sure that he’d want nothing more than for this team and him to finish with a championship. For him you want to go out on a high, but for us, it’ll be the exact same and hopefully win a championship at the end of it.”
But for all the kind words of Donovan’s legacy that poured out throughout the soccer world, the most meaningful to the Galaxy were the last words he told his teammates as he prepared to embark upon the final chapter of his career.
“The last thing that Landon told us [in the team meeting] is that he wants to go out a champion,” said defender Robbie Rogers. “He’s been playing so well lately and if anything, he’s more motivated to go out a champion.”