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- DOB March 4, 1982
- Age 31
- Place of birth Ontario, California
- POSITION Midfielder/Forward
- HEIGHT 5'8"
- WEIGHT 160
- U.S. CAPS 144
- CLUB LA Galaxy
- TWITTER @landondonovan (895K followers)
- ASN 100 Rank 5
- Previous ASN 100 Rank 8
- 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. 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.
Donovan, who now spends more time in the midfield than at forward as his national team career progresses, admits that as he gets older, his passion for the game is diminishing. "There's no question that at some point, probably sooner rather than later, I'll be pretty burned out. And when that time comes, then I'll take a step back and take a look at it and see if I want to keep going," he said in 2012. Still, he remains one of the team's best offensive weapons. His 128 caps (as of August 2012) rank second behind Cobi Jones's 164, while his 45 goals (August 2012) and counting put Donovan well ahead of Eric Wynalda's 34. More impressive, however, is the assist total. His number of helpers more than doubles Jones's 22, showing that the true power of Donovan's game is in his distribution, not his highly visible goal scoring. This trend will continue as his physical gifts decline in the coming years, and he relies more on his experience and guile to help facilitate the attack.—NOAH DAVIS
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)
Noteworthy ReadsLandon Donovan Candidly Discusses Future, Retirement in Wide-Ranging Q&A (SI.com)
The Day Donovan's Career Almost Ended (Yahoo Sports)