U.S. national team and Los Angeles Galaxy great Landon Donovan has announced that he is retiring from professional soccer at the end of the 2014 Major League Soccer season.
The 32-year-old is MLS’s all-time leading scorer and the all-time leading goals and assists man for the U.S. national team. Team USA coach Jürgen Klinsmann controversially left Donovan off of his roster for this summer’s World Cup.*
Donovan announced the decision, which he said was made “after careful deliberation,” on his Facebook page:
I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.
On Wednesday night, Donovan scored a cracking goal in the MLS All-Star Game to give the MLS All-Stars a 2-1 victory over German champions Bayern Munich, a team with which he had a brief and unsuccessful loan spell in 2009.
Earlier this year Donovan set the all-time MLS scoring goal-scoring record in his 14th season in the league, and he has won the MLS Cup five times with the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy.*
In addition to being the face of MLS, he was also the defining figure of a generation of U.S. national players who took the men's team to a new level in the international arena. He scored 57 goals in his U.S. national career and also holds the records for assists and numbers of games started. His 156 international caps are just eight short of Cobi Jones’ all-time record.
Donovan scored five World Cup goals during his three tournament visits and won the Best Young Player Award at the 2002 World Cup, at which he led the team to its first quarterfinals appearance ever. His most acclaimed goal was his miraculous stoppage time winner against Algeria that advanced the U.S. men’s national team to the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup in the dying moments of the group phase.
For our money, this fantastic run and score in the U.S. national team’s 3-2 loss to Brazil in the 2009 Confederations Cup was one of the prettiest Donovan goals ever.
*Correction, Aug. 7, 2014: This post originally misspelled Jürgen Klinsmann's last name. It also originally misidentified the San Jose Earthquakes as the San Jose Sharks.