- DOB March 4, 1982
- Age 33
- Place of birth Ontario, California
- POSITION Midfielder/Forward
- HEIGHT 5'8"
- WEIGHT 160
- U.S. CAPS 157
- CLUB LA Galaxy
- TWITTER @landondonovan (1.16M followers)
- Youth Experience U-17, U-20, U-23
The United States' all-time leading goal scorer and point-getter is more than a decade into his impressive international career and back with the national team after a self-imposed sabbatical. His great speed, wonderful vision, and strong finishing put him on the short list of best Americans of all time, while false starts in Europe and the back and forth between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Everton created a legacy that is not quite as strong as it might have been. At his core, Donovan is a brilliant but reluctant star, one who draws further away from the spotlight as it shines ever brighter on him.
Donovan won the Golden Ball at the 1999 U-17 World Cup, leading DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu, Kyle Beckerman, and his teammates to a fourth-place finish. He joined the full national team in 2000, but waited two years before shining during the 2002 World Cup. He scored two goals—including one against Mexico in the Round of 16—earning a spot on the Team of the Tournament and was named Best Young Player as the Red, White, and Blue advanced to the quarterfinals. Donovan, like the rest of the American squad, struggled at the 2006 World Cup, but he managed to make amends with a last-minute goal against Algeria to put the U.S. into the knockout stage four years later. ("Go, go USA!")
On a club level, the four-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year and seven-time Honda Player of the Year helped raise the profile of Major League Soccer, first with the San Jose Earthquakes and now with the Los Angeles Galaxy for the last seven years. He has won five MLS Cups, two league MVPs, and has made six appearances on the MLS Best XI list, tying him with Dwayne De Rosario for the most. Although three early trips to Germany ended in disappointing returns to the United States, two successful loan stints at Everton proved he can play among the world's best.
If Donovan shows he is indeed back to his best with an excellent Gold Cup, he will almost certainly put himself back in the picture for the September qualifiers. However, an indifferent showing in the tournament could mean he will have even more work to do, especially considering the sterling recent play of Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi on the outside of the U.S. midfield. Still, considering his talent and stated desire to be back with the full squad, expect him to show up in a big way.
Klinsmann on Donovan:
"There’s no problem at all with Landon. It’s for us way unfortunate that he wasn’t available for the last eight games, whatever reason it was. We take it as it happened and are straightforward in our relationship, and obviously we want to see him back in the team. This time it was bronchitis. The other times was other injuries that hit him. There’s absolutely no problem with Landon. But we need Landon with the team to move forward because the train has left at 200 miles an hour and he was not on the train for eight games, which was not ideal for us but it is what it is. [Friendlies in] May and [World Cup qualifiers in] June comes quickly, and that’s when Landon needs to be there and understand where is the team. We need him here as soon and as quickly as possible." (March 2012)
"He has already played three World Cups. Those thoughts I think are normal. It's important that he's here, he focuses in and zooms in and gives everything he has for the national team. He's been tremendous in every training session. He's very professional, and when he has his open discussions with U.S. journalists, that's good to see. He's a thoughtful guy. Time will tell how much he wants to continue on the highest level. I had those moments too. They came when you were waiting for a next step." (May 2012)
"Landon coming back into our group is exciting. He has a wonderful opportunity now to prove where he's at now after his break. We're just curious to see how he picks up the rhythm, how he picks up the speed and tempo. Therefore we are excited to have him back." (June 2013)
Noteworthy ReadsLandon Donovan Candidly Discusses Future, Retirement in Wide-Ranging Q&A (SI.com)
The Day Donovan's Career Almost Ended (Yahoo Sports)