LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016) – The LA Galaxy announced today that forward Landon Donovan has come out of retirement and signed with the club for the remainder of the 2016 season. Donovan, 34, is Major League Soccer’s most accomplished player of all time with records in goals (144), assists (136), game-winning goals (41), game-winning assists (T-41), multi-goal games (32), playoff goals (25), playoff assists (T-14) and MLS Cup trophies (six).
“I have decided to come out of retirement to play the rest of the 2016 MLS season with the LA Galaxy,” said Donovan. “An opportunity opened up and after discussing it with those close to me, it felt like the right decision to return to a club that has meant so much to me. I am very excited to be back and I will do everything I can to help the Galaxy, both on and off the field.”
Donovan will begin training with the LA Galaxy on Friday and be available for selection when the Galaxy host Orlando City SC at StubHub Center on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. PT live on FS1 and Fox Deportes. Limited tickets for Sunday’s game at StubHub Center remain at www.lagalaxy.com/tickets.
On Aug. 7, 2014, Donovan announced his plan to retire from professional soccer at the conclusion of the season. That year, he went on to lead LA to their fifth MLS Cup victory as the Galaxy became the first club to capture five MLS Cup trophies. In 2014, Donovan recorded one of his best seasons in MLS, notching 10 goals and a career-high 19 assists. He returns to the club as the Galaxy’s all-time leader in goals (112) and assists (107). He is second in all-time appearances for LA at 247, behind only Cobi Jones.
“I don’t think I need to tell anyone what Landon has accomplished in our sport,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. “He’s truly been a great player. Now, Landon wishes to take on another challenge and I believe he has all the qualities necessary to be a player who can help the LA Galaxy in 2016.”
The Galaxy legend returns to MLS with six MLS Cups (2001, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014), a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2005) and two MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011). Individually, he was 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 Landon Donovan MVP Award (2009) and won the Golden Boot (2008) as well as being one of just two players to be named MLS Cup MVP twice (2003, 2011). 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 is an iconic figure to the LA Galaxy and the city of Los Angeles,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “He still has a desire to compete and help this club win another championship. We look forward to seeing him represent the Galaxy once again this year.”
Born in Ontario, California, Donovan’s professional career began in 1999 in Germany when he signed with Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen. While overseas, Donovan made 28 appearances and scored nine goals before being loaned in 2001 to the San Jose Earthquakes. That year, Donovan recorded seven goals and 10 assists for the Earthquakes while leading San Jose to their first-ever 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.
In 2005, Donovan joined his hometown club LA Galaxy and went on to score 12 goals and add 10 assists, leading the club to an MLS Cup victory that year, his third MLS Cup championship in five years. He remained with the Galaxy and became the club’s all-time leader in goals (112) and assists (107) before retiring at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Donovan led the Galaxy to some of its highest achievements, including four MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and a U.S. Lamar Hunt Open Cup. He spent time on loan with Bayern Munich (2009) and Everton (2010, 2012).
In addition to his success with the LA Galaxy and in MLS, 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 157 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 remains the all-time leading scorer in the CONCACAF Gold Cup with 18 goals and helped the U.S. to four of its five ever Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007, 2013).
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.