Easily the Greatest American Soccer Player of All-Time
He has scored 136 regular season Major League Soccer goals, and he is the only man to account for both over 50 international goals and assists for the United States Men's Soccer Team. And just two weeks ago, he officially ended his extremely successful soccer career at the age of only 32.
Landon Donovan entered the 2014 MLS Cup on December 7, 2014, as the all-time leading scorer in MLS history and US National Team's all-time leading scorer and playmaker. While still in great physical shape and still very capable to dominate opponents on the pitch, Donovan is walking away at a time when he no longer finds the game to be fun for him.
For all the goals he scored in international play, the goal he scored in the 2010 World Cup to beat Angola and advance Team USA into the Round of 16. The goal came off a rebound of Clint Dempsey's attempt, and allowed USA to win their group for the first time since 1930-- the first-ever World Cup.
Donovan is one of only three American players to score goals in multiple World Cups (along with Brian McBride and Dempsey). He was signed to German club Bayer Leverkusen in 1999; at the age of 17-- while also being picked up to US U-17 squad. While with Leverkusen, Donovan spent most of his six years under contract on loan with MLS' San Jose Earthquakes where he won MLS Cups in both 2001 and 2003.
After 2005, when he ended his contract with Leverkusen, Donovan signed on to play with the Los Angeles Galaxy-- winning his third title in MLS in his first season with the team. After the Galaxy signed David Beckham, Donovan gave up his captaincy with the squad but had a mixed 2007. The Galaxy failed to make the playoffs in 2008, but it was a banner year for Donovan where he scored 20 goals.
Bruce Arena, the former US National team coach, was signed to lead the Galaxy. Arena helped to turn around LA that allowed the Galaxy to get back into contention. Donovan, Beckham, and the newly-signed Robbie Keane led the Galaxy to back-to-back MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012.
After being held out of early World Cup qualifying matches by US coach Juergen Klinsmann, Donovan was brought back to lead the squad to a dominating CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2013. Donovan was then a part of the last qualifying matches that clinched them another spot in the World Cup for 2014.
Klinsmann then shocked Team USA fans by keeping Donovan off the 2014 World Cup 23-man roster. While bitter at his omission, Donovan still joined ESPN's coverage of the World Cup and showed his support for his former mates in their quest in Brazil. On August 7, 2014, Donovan announced 2014 would be his last as a soccer player. That September, Donovan made his last international appearance for the US Men's National Team. He then helped to lead the Galaxy to their fifth overall MLS title-- fourth with Donovan. He ended his career with six MLS Cup championships.
If there is anything that can be said about Donovan, it is that he is without a doubt the Greatest American Soccer Player ever. Even given the bitter end to his international career, Donovan is still responsible for the most successful era of American soccer-- helping to bring millions of new fans to the sport.