Saturday, April 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Landon Donovan says he’ll retire after season

Landon Donovan

In this Aug. 6, 2014, photo, Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan reacts on the pitch after he scored the winning goal of the MLS All-Star match against Bayern Munich in Portland, Ore. Donovan said Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 that he is retiring from professional soccer at the end of the MLS season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

By
From page B8 | August 08, 2014 |

CARSON — A year after Landon Donovan returned to soccer, he realized he had lost his passion for the sport again. This time, the best player in American history decided to walk away for good.

The 32-year-old Donovan announced Thursday he will retire from professional soccer at the end of the MLS season, wrapping up the most prolific career in the league’s history with one last run at a championship with the LA Galaxy.

“I think for the last few years, I haven’t had the same passion that I had previously in my career,” Donovan said at the Galaxy’s stadium. “To some extent, I had felt obligated to keep playing. … It’s time to enjoy the rest of the season, and there would be no better way than to go out as a champion, so that’s what I want to do.”

Donovan is the top goal-scorer in MLS history and the top scorer in U.S. national team history, excelling as a forward and a midfielder. He was even named the most valuable player of his 14th MLS All-Star game on Wednesday night in Portland, scoring a goal in the All-Stars’ 2-1 win over Bayern Munich, only to make his stunning retirement announcement the next day.

“All I could think is that if everyone only knew,” Donovan said with a grin.

Donovan, a five-time MLS champion with the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes, made his retirement announcement on the same stage where he agreed to a multiyear contract extension with the Galaxy just a year ago, pronouncing himself revitalized after an extended sabbatical.

He took several months off following the Galaxy’s second straight MLS Cup title alongside now-retired David Beckham in December 2012. Donovan traveled extensively during his time off, and he plans to see even more of the world after his career ends this fall.

“It gets me excited thinking about it,” Donovan said. “For 16 years, almost every decision I’ve made, every hour of every day, has revolved around, ‘How is this going to prepare me for tomorrow’s training session or tomorrow’s game?’ Just having the freedom to do whatever you want is exciting, and I’m looking forward to that.”

Donovan has been a key component of MLS’ impressive growth during his 14 years in the top North American league. After he struggled for playing time at Bayer Leverkusen as a teenager, he chose to pursue a pro career in his native California instead of Europe, adding a marquee attraction to the then-struggling league.

“There is no doubt that Major League Soccer would not be what it is today without Landon Donovan,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “His decision to join MLS in 2001 was a statement to the entire soccer community, at the most crucial time in our history, that MLS could be a league of choice for the best American players. Landon is to MLS what Michael Jordan was to the NBA, Wayne Gretzky was to the NHL and Tiger Woods was to the PGA Tour: a player whose sporting accomplishments and popularity transformed their respective leagues and set a new standard for how the game would be played.”

Donovan said his decision wasn’t spurred by his omission from his fourth U.S. World Cup team this summer. He was surprised and disappointed by coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision, feeling he had done enough in training camp to warrant inclusion.

“I certainly wasn’t going to allow one person’s poor choice this summer to affect a decision like this,” Donovan said.

Donovan is the career U.S. leader with 57 international goals over 156 appearances, and he has scored five World Cup goals, including his famed stoppage-time goal against Algeria four years ago to send the Americans to the second round. He watched the American team in Brazil from afar as a television commentator.

“Quite simply the best player ever to wear the USMNT jersey,” U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati posted on his Twitter account.

Donovan has no concrete plans for his long-term future in soccer, but he is eager to work with young players in the Galaxy’s academy training program.

“Landon’s legacy is secure with the Galaxy,” said Galaxy President Chris Klein, Donovan’s former teammate and roommate. “So to be able to celebrate that for the rest of the year in terms of how he goes out will be great. When he decides what it is that he wants to do and where he wants to put his heart and energy next, we’ll be there to talk about that.”

Donovan has played for the Galaxy since 2005, also going on loan to Everton and Bayern Munich during the Galaxy’s offseason. Donovan struggled early in his pro career in Europe, but was popular during his two stints with Everton.

“Congratulations on a great career to @landondonovan as he announces he’ll retire later this year. Part of EFC fabric,” Everton tweeted from its official account.

Donovan has four goals and seven assists in 17 games for the Galaxy this season as a midfielder and a forward. He passed Jeff Cunningham for the career MLS goals record shortly after Klinsmann excluded him from the World Cup team.

His absence creates another hole for the LA club, which couldn’t manage a third straight MLS title last season in its first year since Beckham’s departure. But Donovan’s retirement opens up a designated player spot for the Galaxy alongside leading scorer Robbie Keane and U.S. national team defender Omar Gonzalez.

After a lifetime spent in practices and games, Donovan sees his departure as another step in his personal evolution into whatever person he decides to be outside soccer. His decision to leave the Bundesliga for MLS as an unhappy teenager was unpopular, and Donovan knows many fans won’t understand his early retirement.

“Sometimes there’s a sense of obligation in people’s lives, the sense that you have to do something,” Donovan said. “I’ve never lived that way. I have to live the life I want to live, and that’s an important thing to go by.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
Child care program helps teen parents, students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Wood students entertain guests at Epcot

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A2

 
 
 
Solano County Science Fair continues to grow

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Take stock of where you are now, and act

By Murray Bass | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Family awarded rights to rare coins

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
AG announces anti-bias training program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
Dog flu outbreak sweeps across the Midwest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Gas-line blast closes Highway 99, injures at least 11

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Iraqi officials believe Saddam’s top deputy killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Germany mourns citizens lost in plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Following Alps crash, debate over pilotless planes heats up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Time for meaningful financial reform

By Paul A. Volcker | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 18, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Saturday, April 18, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 18, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My daughter is upset that I didn’t attend my former in-law’s funeral

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Warriors, Pelicans enter series with different pedigrees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Prep softball: Seldon powers Rodriguez to victory over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

JC baseball: Falcons win as Pavlovsky, Evans homer

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep badminton: Mustangs roll to 15-0 win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep baseball: Haney hurls Vanden to 3-2 win over Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Armijo nears girls soccer title with 2-0 MEL win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

SCAC girls roll past MEL 55-28 in All-Star hoops game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
SCAC boys slip past MEL in entertaining All-Star game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Athletics fall to Royals 6-4 in rematch of AL wild-card game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Big Ten’s Delany lays out plan for freshman ineligibility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Collmenter shuts down Giants, gets three hits in D-backs win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt’s 61 trumps Masters champion Spieth’s 62

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

2 minor league baseball teams to test game with 5-pitch rule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA could alter schedule, but no change to playoffs, lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Coonan stepping down as Santa Clara’s athletic director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he “let down” fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers fullback Miller at home in Georgia after March arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockhold hopes win over Machida launches him into contention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Martina Hingis to make singles comeback in Fed Cup match

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Injured Giants fan throws out first ball in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Flyers fire head coach Craig Berube after 2 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hornets GM Cho: Stephenson ‘didn’t work like we expected’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Brazil eyes historic medal haul in 2016 Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Before ruling out an upset in NBA East, listen to these guys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Western Conference teams face perilous path to NBA Finals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for April 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Back on the USA Network: Sports return with NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

California home prices hit new 7-year high, sales rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

Frederick’s of Hollywood reveals closing of retail stores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Don’t plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Google shaking up search recommendations on smartphones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 2 Comments

.

Obituaries

Douglas Craig Sparks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7