Donovan opens up again, puts odds of playing in 2014 World Cup at “50/50″

Photo by John Todd/ISIPhotos.com

About four months ago Landon Donovan sent the American soccer community buzzing when he gave the first clear-cut evidence that maybe, just maybe, he was seriously considering retirement sooner rather than later. His latest interview reveals that those earlier statements were far from a passing faze.

In an interview with ESPN, Donovan admitted to still struggling with motivation, and revealed that he is still at a point where his going through some serious soul-searching and thinking about life after soccer.

“I have always tried to find the point where I know this is a job but where I still enjoy it,”  Donovan told ESPN. “I know I have to enjoy it so I can really play my best or else I can become a detriment to my team.”

Donovan also touched the likelihood of him playing in the 2014 World Cup, which would be his fourth World Cup.

“I don’t have the answer to that,” Donovan told ESPN. “There are a lot of moving pieces: Will I be playing, period? Will I be part of the team? Will I be good enough to be wanted?

“If I had to guess I would say it is 50-50. I will have more clarity after I take a break.”

Based on Donovan’s latest comments, it appears more and more unlikely that he will be heading to Everton on loan this winter, but he does leave the door open for a return to Goodison Park. With just one year remaining on his current MLS contract after 2012, Donovan could make one last move to Europe, assuming the motivation and desire is there.

While Donovan’s comments back in May came as a bit of a shock, his latest interview will only serve to add to a growing realization that the countdown to the end of Donovan’s career is coming sooner than most would have imagined even just 16 months ago, when he was starring in the 2010 World Cup.

Give Donovan’s ESPN interview a read and let us know what you think? Do you see Donovan being a key member of the U.S. National team much longer? Are you hoping he is still on the team in 2012, or are you ready for the next generation to step in so Donovan can move on to the next chapter in his life?

Share your thoughts below.

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152 Responses to Donovan opens up again, puts odds of playing in 2014 World Cup at “50/50″

  1. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I think he will ramp up again…but thinking about 2014 without him is just depressing.

    • Marden08 says:

      I agree. He has been a great player for a long time. He doesn’t come up to some peoples standards but he has a great career at the club level, youth national and senior national. It would be nice if could get a second wind and help us qualify and play a part in 2014 if we make it. I would love to see him ending his career on a high note,playing well for theUSA.

    • scott says:

      I wish Bocanegra would talk about retirement…

    • Hilmer says:

      Good, its time the MNT to find more pieces to rely on. As a player LD has done great for the MNT but I think they rely on him too much when he is on the field. I have to say JK is better of if he knows that LD may not be “all in”

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        I think their play during qualifying without him makes it pretty clear the Nats are NOT ready to go on without him…

    • SwerveZ says:

      I think he needs a new challenge and be open to moving out of his comfort zone: California. Everton should be talking to him now…

  2. NE Matt says:

    This makes me really sad

  3. Miguel Rubio says:

    As much as fans of USMNT would like to think we understand what it’s like to be Landon Donovan, we have no clue. It’s disappointing that he appears to be lacking the drive to get him to 2014 but we still have to support our boy. Perhaps it’s time for Landon to leave the Galaxy and change things up a bit in the hopes that he starts loving his football again.

    • Josh D says:

      It’s what happens when you’re a big fish in a small pond for so long. He stayed in MLS too long. Good too complacent.

      He’s not being challenged and hasn’t for awhile. He was always too good for MLS, but didn’t have the mentality to last in Europe. Yes his little stays at Everton were great, but can he keep it up over a grueling season, twice as hard as MLS’?

      Move back to Everton and stay there. Challenge yourself. Then appreciate you’re getting paid millions to play soccer instead of toiling away in an office making $60k.

      • Brolo says:

        He’s not going to Europe. Why leave when you live in manhattan beach? When my bro who played club soccer with him ran into him he said our future is fine with young ones over there and there’s no point for him to go at this point.

    • Matt C in Tampa says:

      Tampa Bay Rowdies is always on the look out for soul-searching, goal searching, autumnal players.

      Landon, i think you need a dose of humidity…and you’re not getting in in LA.

      • RalleeMonkey says:

        It can be humid in LA. Sometimes the fog rolls in and it’s downright sticky. (save the smog jokes – this isn’t your father’s 1970′s LA).

  4. elgringorico says:

    get him a therapist or life coach or something… he’s too young AND healthy to behave like this!

  5. yikes says:

    Retire already. We need to get younger players to do the job. Donovan is a HERO for us but we can not over rely on him nor should we. Especially if he’s in such a mood.

    • danny says:

      Agree. He’s a professional soccer player who isn’t motivated to play in the World Cup? And he’s only 30. No player should be coddled in order to get to play in the WC. His behavior is an insult to other guys on the team who are fighting for a spot and those who dream of making history. I know we’re not in his shoes, but just compare him to other players. This attitude is unacceptable.

      • TheFrenchOne says:

        you, sir, are a tool box. he’s not asking to be coddled, he’s just being honest. as much as we all would have loved to play professionally, he’s beeing doing it for 15 years and it has apparently worn him down

        • Joe says:

          I appreciate the honesty, and tool box, well played. I always say if you’re going to hurl insults, at least make them comical.

          Landon, you’ve done great for the USMNT, but if you truly feel that way, recuse yourself from the team, get rejuvenated and see what happens. It pisses me off though, he is going full on Landycakes again though. Why me, I’m so tired, all of this garbage. Man, you chose your life and you live with it and 50/50 at this point, at 30 with all your experience, is flat out unacceptable.

  6. yikes says:

    10 years ago he was a breakout star at the World Cup

    5 years ago he was Landycakes

    2 years ago he was no longer that, he was the guy that led us to the WC quarter-finals.

    1 year ago he was winning MLS for the umpteenth time and we all wanted him in Europe ASAP

    no idea where he will be in 1 year much less 2

  7. ISAF says:

    we need to get our boys like

    Gonzalez, Sean Johnson, Hamid, Zusi, Agudelo, Shea and Wondo all to Europe over the next year

  8. TomG says:

    If you could put Demseys head in LDs body, you would have USAs first true world class player. Sad that this guy has so many natural gifts yet can’t be happy playing a game for a living.

    • jp992751 says:

      Best comment I have ever seen on this site.

      • dannyk says:

        Some of you guys are trippin…

        He’s 30 now — it gets way HARDER to play and to enjoy it at such a high level when you start to get older. You don’t have the same testosterone anymore and it’s harder to get yourself pumped up to sprint after every single ball.

        Is 30 old? No of course not, but it is a bit older particularly in pro soccer, and it does get harder for the body to respond the way it did when you were younger. I’m 32 now and I’m speaking from experience. LD knows in 2014 he will be 32, and he’s saying it’s up in the air.

  9. Kris says:

    I’m sorry, and maybe this is because I’ve never liked Landon outside of a Nat’s shirt, but buck up, man. You’re only 30!

    I just can’t take this whole whiner thing seriously. The truth is, and any footballer would tell you, you’re gonna regret openly missing a WC. How the heck could you not when you’re only 30 years old? That’s the dream! And suddenly, he’s lost his fire? Child please.

    Maybe Becks can sit him down and convince him he’s still got a few years left in the tank. If not, I’d take a guy with 100% passion over the youngest over-the-hill player I’ve ever seen. Put or shut up, Donny boy!

  10. Smacking says:

    It’s Landon’s life and his decision to make, but I think he regrets it if he walks away early. If he jumps in with both feet, the motivation returns. He has to take himself out of his comfort zone and chase the highest plane possible. Deep down he’s a competitor that will fight until the bitter end. We’ve seen it it LA on occasion. We’ve seen it against Mexico and in World Cups. I hope we’ll see it again in Brazil!

  11. Vic says:

    People should not worry too much about this. Donovan hasn’t had a break from training/playing/working out in about 20 months. MLS has a long off-season, he will rest and I’m think he will come back with energy and desire to play.

    • TomM says:

      Agreed- this is not the first time he’s struggled like this. He needs time to rest and self-evaluate. Once he does, he usually comes back with new motivation and desire, and US soccer has always been better off for it. Perhaps it’s adapting to a different role as leader, motivator; being smarter about the way he plays as his body gets a little older. Would be good for him to be around a Giggs-type player that can mentor him through this season of life.

    • Kris says:

      And by rest, you mean a trial at Everton

      • Vic says:

        Yes, its pretty clear that he won’t go to Everton in January. So he will get some much needed rest.

  12. jlm says:

    total speculation, but it almost seems like donovan doesn’t like the way klinsmann has handled him and he is sending a message. who knows what has gone on between them, but have a feeling klinsmann has been demanding of donovan when donovan doesn’t want to give much, so klinsmann has responded by telling him that his spot will not be reserved or guarenteed, which leads donovan into quotes that threaten retirement…

    • Cole says:

      Yea clearly there is a rift between him and Klinsmann, he’s played what only 3 games on JK and talk of retirement from the national team sort of came with the Klins.

      • Liga says:

        Except when Bob Bradley benched him–before Bradley was fired–for not being committed to the team.

        You know, when Donovan’s attitude thing started before Klinsmann got there?

      • PD says:

        yeah I’m not sure how much water the JK LD rift can hold, the guy single handedly got LD a trial at Bayern and has been a long-standing advocate for LD.

  13. John says:

    To be successful in a difficult tournament as the World Cup, you need to have a good mix of quality, experienced veteran players along with a solid core and young high energy talent. With Howard, Dempsey, Dolo, Boca and Donovan we have a good core of those experienced players, Donovan still being the top one in that group IMHO. There’s no doubt in my mind that the US team is better with him. He needs to get back to Everton and stay there.

  14. Chris says:

    Make him watch this:

    link to youtube.com

    • C(note) says:

      This video still gives me chills. I ripped my shirt off and ran around the Barnum hysteria. Amazing. My favorite reaction is the kid who is by him self and runs up the stairs then tumbles back down them screaming. I freaking love it.

      No matter hi decision, we need to be grateful as fans for the time he spent and memories he created, my personal favorite in a USMNT shirt is the second goal over Mexico in the 2002 WC.

  15. Liga says:

    Basically, back to Landycakes. Whiny little runt.

    • Vic says:

      Partially true. However, people get burnt out doing the same thing over and over for many years. If you’re a millionaire you have the option to do whatever you want.

    • Ryan Nanez says:

      says the guy behind the computer screen

      • Liga says:

        By that logic nobody should every say anything on the Internet.

        Donovan is being whiny and emotionally unstable. We’ve seen it before, and we’re seeing it again.

        • d says:

          My son used to play baseball in school. He had the 2nd highest batting average on the team. His coach got mad at him once after a game because when he got the 3rd out (with runners on 2nd and 3rd) he didn’t seem “upset enough” at himself. My son’s answer: “why should I blame myself? The outfielder made a great play. And besides, it wouldn’t have been the 3rd out if there hadn’t already been 2 outs before I got up to bat. Why don’t they have to be mad at themselves?” Coach said that kind of attitude was going to get him benched, because he needed to show a killer instinct every game.
          The USMNT needs Donovan to show that killer instinct every single game, whether he plays 90 minutes as a starter or 20 minutes as a super sub. Many of the other players take their cues from his energy (or lack thereof).

  16. Mc says:

    Donovan, no one needs to know all of this. Quit being so honest. Many players feel the same way, but most are smart enough to keep it inside so they don’t sound like total whack jobs. The more you reveal about where you are mentally, the more pressure you are putting on yourself.

    Your country needs the Mexecutioner, not the contemplative philosopher. STEP UP.

    • Mc says:

      After actually reading the article, I have a bit more sympathy for his position. It is strange how one of his main points is that he doesn’t care what people say about him, but here he is trying his best to explain himself to everyone. Quite a contrast.

      I hope he can turn it around. I would take a 100% healthy and focused Donovan over almost anyone else in the player pool.

  17. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think he wanted to go to Everton and has instead been doing the job he signed up for. He has won quite a few titles with SJ and LA and domestic play might be boring by now.

    I also think he’s starting to get hurt more, he’s O-30 now and it’s possible someone who runs as much as he does is breaking down.

    I also think he’s gone through a divorce and is thus probably at a spot where he’s figuring out his life.

    I don’t know if he’d have a Klinsmann issue because Klinsi was a Galaxy hanger-on.

  18. LIUnited says:

    Landon has made about as much commitment to the Nats in the last years as Tyson Chandler. He has been hurt and unmotivated. Truth is that while we could use Landon when he is playing well I think we are better for playing without him. It is time for others to step up and some have. Landon knows that when he started his international career that his best asset was speed. He has lost a step. He never had the ball skills of Dempsey, he always relied on his speed. Even with Everton last season he covered the right wing for them but he is no longer a threat to break down the wing every time he touches the ball. His play has been passive for the last 16 months or so. Unless he returns to playing fast and taking guys on we should move on.

  19. biff says:

    The ESPN article is excellent, has really increased my understanding of Landon Donovan the man. And, gotta say, not only is he one of the greatest American soccer players ever, he is also a smart, perceptive and multi-dimensional person. And as I read the article a realization struck me full force: Landon Donovan should be captain of the US Men’s National Soccer Team next year during the Hex and (hopefully) for his last World Cup.

    Jurgen Klinsmann has the power to do it. Carlos Bocanegra was Bob Bradley‘s captain. No doubt that Boca is a great guy and he deserved it and has done a good job for all the years he has had the honor. Klinsmann certainly did not want to rock the boat during his first year. But after 15 months as head coach Klinsmann has the right to choose his own man and I think it is time to hand the armband to someone else. Klinsmann appears to favor Tim Howard, who is a leader and one of the most important players on the team. I would have no problem with Tim as captain, but somehow I think Donovan deserves it. Donovan said in an interview last summer that he would like to wear the armband and I hope Klinsmann names him captain next year for the Hex.

  20. A.S. says:

    I’m not sure he would be an automatic starter at Brazil 2014 anyway. Seems to me his play has gone downhill steadily since the 2009 Confederations Cup. Which is natural – athletes tend to peak at about ages 25-26. It’s all downhill from there.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think it’s naive to believe that Landon would be worse than Torres, Kljestan, Zusi, Shea, et al. I think he could lose a step and still be a superior soccer player. The question to me is more motivation and not so much speed but health, ie, injury.

      • Cole says:

        Agreed when players get older they adapt there game, just look at Becks, he has become a different style player who still always has something to offer. Donovan’s experience and leadership still could offer a lot to the usmnt in the near future.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Landon is a training workhorse who as long as he’s not broken down will maximize whatever he’s got left physically — the issue with him has usually been softness on the field, not laziness in fitness. But even that softness for good or ill may have helped extend the career of someone who’s been playing pro soccer for more than a decade. I was a very physical player and by 30 that’d beat the heck out of me.

          Beyond that I generally agree, he’s sufficiently technical where even if he loses some steps he has value. He does have some limits to his game, but a hard-working winger who can hit crosses and dead balls, and finish finesse shots, retains value. He’s still better than most forward and mid options.

          Though, if I am Klinsi, faced with the injuries and fading enthusiasm, you do need a Plan B. Does that mean we write him off? No, but you definitely start grooming successors. But this is not a Chandler situation where a line needs to go in the sand.

    • Guy #2 says:

      Even if he didn’t start he would be a super-super-sub.

  21. Dainja says:

    Well, though this is depressing to me as a USMNT fan, as a man strictly, I got to respect his honesty: soccer isn’t everything in his life. Granted, if he had the mentality that 90 percent of our MLS players had, the USA would’ve had its first true international soccer superstar (its always been his mental fortitude that held him back in Europe when he was younger) but at his core, he is a California dreaming kid who misses all the other things in life than soccer. If we could only put Herc’s brain in his body…Either way, take some time off Donovan and take a bow. Its time for USA to move on dot org.

    • d says:

      Except that he is a California kid, living in Southern California, who goes to work for 2 hours a day and has a 4 month vacation. If that doesn’t leave him enough time to enjoy other things in life besides soccer, then I think he needs some serious therapy. What he should be worried about is what he wants to do after he ends his career in professional soccer. Although he could probably score a pretty good gig with NBC or ESPN or FoxSports – he doesn’t even have to be very good because of who he is (see Harkes, Balboa, Chastain, Foudy, etc.)

  22. Raymon says:

    One cap vs. Mexico in the Hex at home will fix his head.

  23. Frank Wern says:

    Anyone consider that Juergen may have told him that he doesn’t figure in his plans for 2014 and this is Landon’s way of saving face, of not having to reveal that he may have been dropped?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      That makes no sense, Landon has been productive when used and is still a better ballplayer.

    • B says:

      Lol, you can’t be serious. Why does everything have to be a conspiracy theory even when it makes no sense? Why does Klinsmann talk about Donovan’s importance so much? Why did he call him in for this last pair of games even though he had been injured?

      • PD says:

        Well, when Brad Friedel left the international scene you could argue he saw that the team was heading in a direction where he was not the unquestioned #1. Who’s to say a similar scenario hasn’t entered LD’s head at some point? With the ascendency of Dempsey and JK’s emphasis on the team being “in transition”, perhaps LD has internalized this to mean “they are moving past me being the catalyst”. Folks struggling with depression could find that line of logic entirely plausible, even if it’s a total fabrication.

        The larger point is that LD is dealing with major stuff right now, when you’re that emotionally weighted it’s tough to be even minded and objective.

  24. 2tone says:

    Personally I think Klinsmann should hand the armband over to Donovan, and make Howard vice captain. Donovan deserves to be the Captain. You give Donovan the armband, and you will see a reinvigorated player that will be determined to lead his team to the 2014 WC. Do it Klinsy.

    After 2014 I could see Donovan stepping down from soccer completely.

    • biff says:

      great idea, 2tone.

    • dan says:

      good idea

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Personally I think it should go to Dempsey. Clint is in the prime of his career and save the Tottenham August difficulties is showing up fit and doing his job. There is a risk with these O-30s that we’re saddling ourselves to the wrong horses a la Reyna and Lewis in 2006. You want a situation where if Dolo, Boca, or Landon fall apart they can be cashiered without destroying the 2014 leadership of the team.

      • jb says:

        Don’t think Dempsey has the right personality for captain, he’s a lone ranger. Bradley is a captain of the future, and will certainly be a leader this cycle.

        I think its a great idea if Donovan would accept it. The responsibility of the armband may be the thing that could rejuvenate him mentally, jumpstart his career and get him thru 2014. Clearly he’s burned out now, and needs a break. Completely understandable, and I admire his honesty.

        I agree with an earlier poster that he would regret it at 40 if he walks away now. Barring serious injury, he is plenty fit to play 2-3 more years. I disagree that he’s lost a step, I think when motivated and healthy he’s still as good as he’s ever been.

        Bottom line tho is its his life to live as he sees fit. He’s been a stalwart for the US for many years and faced pressures and stresses that few athletes can relate to. I wish him the best.

  25. Charles says:

    There is nothing wrong with not wanting to play anymore, if that is where he is.

    BUT, when you are 40 years old and think I should have played for 5 more years, there is no going back. Need examples ? No, you don’t they are everywhere.

    That is the fear he should have, not a fear of burn out. Fear of not taking advantage of what you got, when you got it.

  26. Kevin_H says:

    It’s important not to misinterpret his 50/50 comment. He’s not saying he has a 50/50 chance of wanting to play; he’s thinking about other factors like ability. In other words, he recognizes the possibility of someone better than him in 2014 taking his spot.

  27. Primoone says:

    Pu*ssy…

  28. Liga says:

    To everyone that thinks giving the captaincy of your national team to a player who can’t decide if he even wants to play soccer anymore is a good idea, please exit stage left.

    Why would you ever want a captain that the other players knew was not stable and not 100% dedicated.

    I’d say the arm band goes to Bradley or Gomez if he keeps your spot. Captaincy is about setting the standard for play during a match and nobody works harder than those two.

  29. roll tide says:

    he sounds burnt out, and for good reason. He has carried LA, Everton (for a bit) and the USA for a long time and now everyone seems to be moving on without him. After this MLS season take a long break and move to a European side in the summer.

    I 100% believe he will be an impact player for the USA in 2014 as well as our qualifying run.

    • PD says:

      In all fairness, the “moving on” without LD is a bit is more out of necessity than choice. USMNT and LA aren’t going to field a team with 10 men just cause LD is a scratch.

  30. bottlcaps says:

    I think there was a time when the MLS really needed Donovan. He was THE marquee player, and instead of going overseas, he chose to stay because American football needed him. Those days are over and I think that Donovan should have his last hurrah overseas in the “retirement league” of the EPL at Everton where everybody admires him.

    This would free up a DP spot for the Galaxy who have several Euro stars who have expressed interest in playing for LA, these include Didier Drogba, Kaka and, the favorite, Frank Lampard. I think that none of these players, as good as they are, could fill Landon Donovan’s shoes and leave as big a footprint as he has for American Soccer.

  31. YO says:

    This kid hasn’t been the same since the wife left him!

    • d says:

      Actually, he played pretty well in South Africa, and he was already separated from his wife.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        You ever gone through a divorce? I think you’re over-stating what a separation does. That might be a short relief but then there’s reconciliation attempts, the court process, it wears you down. He might have been in a good place for a time but until it’s all over you don’t necessarily stay there. And it makes you re-think everything. Should I be playing soccer? Did I want to be in LA or was that her choice? etc.

        I think the best thing for him would be to work out an Everton transfer with LA. Fresh start, different challenge, fans who already like him. To the extent he could stay healthy I think it would re-start the passion, and the US would likely benefit. But everything about LA probably reeks of been there done that, MVP, titles, what else can he do there, and it might be a constant reminder of the ex.

      • YO says:

        Did not say anything about his playing1

  32. biff says:

    Valid point, Liga. But I agree with 2tone’s comment above and also the nice comment above from jlm, who speculates that “it almost seems like donovan doesn’t like the way klinsmann has handled him and he is sending a message.” I have the same feeling as jlm.

    It could be that Donovan felt he got passed over for the captaincy by Bob Bradley, who I suspect was paving the way to hand the captaincy to his son for WC 2014. If you remember, in the Brazil friendly in August after the World Cup in South Africa, BB pulled Boca and gave the captain’s band to MB for the last part of the game. But BB made sure that all the other veterans were off the field first so it would not look to strange Boca handing the captain’s band to the coach’s son. And in that same game, if I remember correctly, BB did not start Cherundolo, captain of a Bundesliga team, and kept him on the bench the whole game. Dolo, I think, was the only player who did not play.

    So, fast forward and we come to Mexico in August 2012, Boca is not there but Landon Donovan accepts the invitation and it was, I think around that time, that Donovan said in an interview he would like to wear the captain’s band. But the game starts and who is wearing the armband: Tim Howard.

    It could be that Donovan feels he has not been passed over a second time by Klinsmann. And, quite frankly, I would agree. As I say above, I like Howard and think he would make a fine captain, but I think Donovan deserves it and, as 2tone says, I bet it would fire him and I think the USMNT would be better with a fired up Landon Donovan in the starting line-up. I am certain Boca would would accept a new captain and I have no doubt the faithful and great Tim Howard also would accept.

    As head coach, Klinsmann obviously has the right to change his mind. And if he is as smart as I think he is, Klinsmann will name Landon captain in February for the first Hex game and Tim Howard vice captain. The team would be in good hands through WC 2014.

    • LIUnited says:

      Sorry Bif. Landycakes should never be named captain over Michael Bradley. Donovan is the type of player that needs his ego stroked and that is what he is looking for from Klinsy. A captain should never need his ego stroked. After Tim Howard (who I would not pick as captain since I don’t believe in goalies as captain) Michael Bradley is the next name in pen on the roster.

    • biff says:

      Should be: It could be that Donovan feels he has *now* been passed over a second time by Klinsmann.

  33. JJ says:

    He deserves the respect of all American fans, if he wants to retire he should be given a retirement game. We as his supporters should be thanking him for the quality service he has given to our Nation and to our league.

  34. dan says:

    He gets SO MUCH sh*t talk in MLS but when it comes to talk about the Nats everyone loves him. Anyway, he will be back and better than ever. I think the fact Dempsey is becoming the go to guy for USA will only make Donovan better, he never loved being the main guy on the team.

    Perhaps the Galaxy should sell this winter to Everton and rebuild now, allowing Donovan to get his spark back in Everton hopefully

  35. DC Josh says:

    The kid needs a break. Hopefully he gets that this winter. The USA/LA/Everton would love to have him in their starting XI.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think he needs a winter rest and a permanent move. I don’t think all the winter loans are helpful particularly when he’s expressing burnout. So that needs to be a LA OR Everton, not more years of no time off. He may in fact be demonstrating the physical and mental limitations of Klinsi’s “do a foreign loan in the MLS offseason” theories.

      • Aaron in StL says:

        Agreed. Although avoiding a year-round schedule would be a start. From there, maybe a move + a bit of time off would help reinvigorate him if he can be at all. Seems natural that he’d be in this spot given how long he’s been at it. Letting him do it on his terms is best for him and any teams he plays with as well.

  36. steveo says:

    I get the burn-out and the quarter-life crisis going on, but for the sake of USMNT, I hope he reconsiders between now and then… the team is so thin on the wings in terms of talent and experience for the Hex and 2014 that even if he’s just a sub, he would still be a valuable contributor…

    on the left, we have Brek, who has shown both promise and immaturity-as expected for a younger player, on the right we have Zusi-a positive surprise relative to fears and trepidations, but not exactly a game-changer, Gatt-yet to play for USMNT and is already quite fragile at a young age, Bedoya- who appears to be out of sight, out of mind for Klinsmann ( i won’t hapr on Lichaj, Chandler for the 5000th time)…

    so I hope Donovan gets himself a girlfriend and gets some rest this winter and comes back with some fire in the belly, cause USMNT needs him for at least another 12-24 months…

  37. flagermunsen says:

    The man needs a sabbatical.

    • Don Pelayo says:

      The man needs to appreciate what he has and stop whining. Honestly, how many people would kill to be in his position? It’s a bit obnoxious to hear a professional soccer player in his prime questioning his desire to play and whether or not he should retire.

      These interviews by Donovan highlight the differences between he and Dempsey, and illustrate why the latter has become the new face of US soccer.

  38. d says:

    Donovan’s “mood swings” are getting tiresome. This is nothing new, it’s been going on for years. Maybe he really should just retire now and that way Klinsman can fill his spot instead of holding it open in the hope that the Donovan who shows up to play is motivated to play his best. He will always play if available, but there is never a neutral Donovan- he’s either on fire or he’s invisible (which is not the same thing as having a bad day). Enough already!

    • Matt C in Tampa says:

      What’s the saying about doing something on the pot or getting off the pot to let someone else do something on that pot that they want to do on the pot?

  39. Brian Fantana says:

    Hey Landon, why don’t you quit talking for awhile? You’re freakin’ everyone out.

  40. Steve-o says:

    Just remember, even Michael Jordan took a 2 year break during his career. I think LD feels like he’s accomplished everything he wanted to do.

  41. d says:

    My son used to play baseball in school. He had the 2nd highest batting average on the team. His coach got mad at him once after a game because when he got the 3rd out (with runners on 2nd and 3rd) he didn’t seem “upset enough” at himself. My son’s answer: “why should I blame myself? The outfielder made a great play. And besides, it wouldn’t have been the 3rd out if there hadn’t already been 2 outs before I got up to bat. Why don’t they have to be mad at themselves?” Coach said that kind of attitude was going to get him benched, because he needed to show a killer instinct every game.
    The USMNT needs Donovan to show that killer instinct every single game, whether he plays 90 minutes as a starter or 20 minutes as a super sub. Many of the other players take their cues from his energy (or lack thereof).

    • sandtrout says:

      I’m confused. Do you agree with the coach or your son? To me, your son sounds like the adult in that conversation.

      • soccerhorn says:

        +1 sandtrout.

      • PD says:

        ^THIS. Your son’s coach was a d*ck.

      • biff says:

        huh? I’m confused too. Didn’t someone up above write this same thing? Whatever…

        Reminds of a story. Once there was quarterback and it was third down and one situation and he tried a quarter back sneak and he didn’t make. So on the next play, it was fourth and two and he tried another quarterback sneak and he didn’t make and when he went to the sideline the coach patted him on the back and said: “Nice try. Better luck next time.” I think that’s kind of where Landon Donovan is it, if you know what I mean. But Landon players soccer, not football.

    • steveo says:

      LOL, the coach sounds like a complete idiot who wants to others blame themselves….

      if anything, in sports the shooters in basketball, the hitters in baseball, the defensive backs in football, the strikers in soccer. are constantly told to forget aboutt eh last play and move on to thinking about the next one so as to not lose focus as the game is still going on… wow, just, wow with this coach…

  42. sandtrout says:

    I congratulate Landon Donovan on being more than an athlete, and on having the courage to be introspective. Selfishly, I wish he had the drive of Clint Dempsey. We could use that on the national team. But hey, it’s his life. He’s already given us a lot of it, and if he wants to take the rest of it back, that’s up to him. It’s the rest of us who need to suck it up and deal with the fact that he’s complicated.

  43. soccerhorn says:

    The injuries are finally starting to pile up. He’s played non-stop for almost two years – and pretty much non-stop as a pro since he was 16. Dude’s running out of gas, emotionally as well as physically. Should he probably be a little more tight-lipped about it? Sure. But he’s the face of American soccer, has been for over a decade, and he’s gonna keep getting asked these questions no matter what.

    Here’s the problem he faces: he’s entering the last year of his contract with the Galaxy. If the Galaxy hope to get anything for him, they will have to either re-sign him to a very expensive contract extension, or deal him to Europe once and for all. The Europe thing will give the Galaxy huge amount of $$ to spend on other players. Donovan knows this. He wants a break, but he knows that the Galaxy’s best play will be to sell him to Everton or somewhere else in Europe and collect oh, say, $15-20 million in the process. This means that Donovan will roll right from MLS playoffs to winter in Liverpool with not much more than a Christmas break. That’s tough to contemplate – rolling right into your third straight year of non-stop play. He may seem to young to be contemplating retirement, but remember, he’s in his 14th year as a pro.

    All that said – c’mon Landon PLEASE find that fire for exactly 1.5 more years!

    • LIUnited says:

      The transfer fee for Dempsey was only 9 mil. No way anyone buys donovan for more than that.

      • soccerhorn says:

        Dempsey’s transfer was 9 million EUROS. That’s about $15 million dollars US.

        • bottlcaps says:

          It was for 6M POUNDS or 7.3M Euros or 9.3 M Dollars, Which is just short of Altidore’s 10 Mi US sale to Villareal (and his 2.5M US markdown sale to AZ Alkmaar) Dempsey’s salary is around 22 million for 3 years or 7.3 million a year (or 192,000 an EPL game) which make him the highest paid US player (superseding Brad Friedel) who had a salary of between 4-5 M US a year

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      How about Landon plays his butt off for them chasing a title and they let him go on a free? I think he’s given them plenty andneeds the move and history suggests that trying to press Everton for a bunch of cash will just kill the deal. This should be handled more like an older player on a retirement move — like players do coming here — than like a bottom line deal where we push for cash. He’s played here years and basically been the face of the league. He’s delivered a title to LA atop the SJ pile. Do him a solid and let him out on a free.

      • biff says:

        I don’t think it would have to be free. LA deserves a bit of cash in return. But if Landon tells LA management he wants to go to Everton in January, I be they would let him go at a reasonable transfer fee that Everton would be willing to pay. And then the USMNT Captain and Vice-Captain would be playing at Everton….

    • PD says:

      And how much is he deflating his stock with all this talk of “I don’t feel like playing”. that’s gotta drive the LA front office to distraction.

      Actually you have to wonder if on some level maybe this is all just a way of deflating expectations for a big post-LA move. That would be some intricate theater, but crazier things have happened.

  44. Joe B NYC says:

    I think this has to do with the current national team coach, but it’s time to start bringing along younger creative midfielders. Luis Gil maybe?

  45. Brain Guy says:

    I can’t pretend to know why he would want to retire from international play at this time, but by talking about it twicw now, he is practically demanding to be left off the roster for WC qualifiers as well. If you’re JK, why keep calling up a guy who has not seemed interested in playing for you, and then trumpets to the world that he is on the fence about 2014. It’s sad — I think Donovan can still be a valuable member of the squad — but it’s not the first time he’s gone all introspective on us.

    • PD says:

      is that really what he’s saying though? I think he’s saying he’s on the fence about having the fire to play and compete… everything kinda flows out of that, My understanding is that he’s not saying he doesn’t want to play for the nats, he’s saying he’s not sure he wants to play period.

      • Brain Guy says:

        True enough. But his overall wishy-washiness certainly can’t help him with JK. On the other hand, maybe JK can light a fire under him and make it fun again?

    • biff says:

      Reading between the lines, I think he is saying he wants to be captain of the USMNT. He deserves it and Klinsmann should just do it.

  46. Frank says:

    “I’ve struggled with motivation at many points in my career. I’ve had times where it all came easily but there have been stretches where I have questioned it.”

    Shocking, I never would have guessed. (Don’t attack me for this. I recognize all he has done for this country and program, but it is impossible to watch him over a period of several years and not notice his motivational mood swings.)

    • PD says:

      mood swings = being human.

      • Frank says:

        You’re right. I didn’t want to say mood swings but I couldn’t think of a better way of saying it. What I meant is that its very clear to people who watch him regularly when he goes through these periods of questioning whether he wants to keep going. The problem this time is that I’m not sure what else there is that could get him going again. In the past he’s always had a “next” thing that he needed to accomplish. He’s played a major part in two teams that advanced in the World Cup(and played in 3 altogether), he now has an MLS Cup, and he has proven himself over two highly successful loan spells in Europe. I just don’t see a next significant stepping stone that will get him going again.

  47. Shane says:

    If Klinsmann cant get our best player motivated to play for the USA then they guy is not doing his job, in yet another way. That is what this article is all about.

    • biff says:

      you know, Shane, I laughed when I first read your comment. But actually, there is a grain of truth to what you are saying.

  48. PD says:

    LD has always been a bit of a benevolent headcase, but really, who isn’t? Let’s be honest, how many of us would like the ebb to flow of our life’s work out there for public consumption? I give credit to the guy for being honest about it as it forces fans, press and staff alike to start preparing for a post-LD world. It’s coming and regardless of it being 2 years 4 years or 6 years from now it is sooner than any of us want to admit (Same goes for Dempsey, Cherundolo and Howard).

    That said, if this little mid-life crisis isn’t proof that everything is relative, I don’t know what is. How many people would kill to be in LD’s shoes, have his career, his status, his skill and talent? And yet,even with all that, he’s got these funny feelings of being kinda empty on the inside. Sounds to me like the guy either needs a new club in a new league, a new hobby, to find Jesus, to get laid or find a special someone that understands him for who he is (and isn’t a headcase like his long-standing, on again off again, sometimes it’s complicated senorita).

    Seriously though, whoever suggested therapy in an earlier comment on the thread, I say plus one.

  49. From the grassy... says:

    This might be a reach, but any chance he is posturing in order to get out of MLS in January? Essentially driving his price down so Everton can make a realistic play for him…We all know how MLS can be with their fee requests…

  50. Don Pelayo says:

    Just when I was starting to like Donovan again. What a prima donna.

  51. Joe says:

    He was starring in the 2010 World Cup 28 months ago – not 16, but it does seem like yesterday when he struck late against Algeria.

    • alabamafutbol says:

      ^Was about to correct that same thing, 28 months not 16- seriously does feel like just yesterday.. the idea of no Landon is pretty depressing

  52. Cory says:

    Well, as sad as it sounds, the sooner we accept his decline and eventual end to his national team tenure (as is currently occurring with Carlos Bocanegra), the better it is for the program in the long run. Our youth teams are looking good though, especially our U-17s. There are good things in store for the future.

  53. TGA says:

    he has no motivation because he plays in a 3rd rate league….

  54. Tim says:

    “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”- Landon Donovan

  55. Turd Bradley says:

    You can take the kid out of California but you can’t take the cakes out of Landy.

    he is just being a baby, and if its too much for poor lil landycakes to play anymore than so be it.

    Not like we are going to win 2014 might as well give the young guys a chance. Boca please stop playing. No one wants you and you are slower than the dickens. Jonathan Bornstein is the worst player ever to sign a professional contract.

  56. jim morrison says:

    Sources have LD liking JK but not really respecting him as a coach

  57. Hal says:

    LD is a coward. He has a fear of failure. He should have been playing in the EPL full time by now.

    Good riddance to this guy. I don’t want him on the national team.

  58. eric harris says:

    Landon is not going to improve much by playing at Everton at this point in his life.A Landon who hasbecome fatigued and or lost that special feeling for the game will not help the National team much either starting or on the bench. My feeling is that{ here from a totally meaningless distance] Landon should take a sabatical from the game, and if Klinsmann will allow it , come back into the national team after the layoff, with the understanding he would have to earns his way back in, in friendlies or perhaps qualifiers.

    The coach needs all the talent and experience he can get , particularly here in the Land of the Free.This sort of ” special treatment” is what certain players have earned, and Landon is one of them. This type of treatment is common amongst experienced soccer minds, though is maybe
    frowned on here where ”whining” is frowned on.

    The point is not is he a whiner but how to 1. qualify for the world cup, 2. put the best team on the field for what is going to be an exceptional world cup. Landon can help that team either starting or subbing in, or a combo based on the situation.
    ANSWER: Cut the guy some slack and HOPE he gets his spring in his step back and his thirst for playing and winning too.

    The question of Everton or MLS is not the point. The point is; first get back to square one and keep your eyes on the prize,~ semifinals, or quarterfinals~ Brazil 2014. If the U.S. and Landon
    make that happen the contract options will be good and will take care of themselves.
    3 MOTHS OFF in the oceans of Thailand or the mountains of New Zealand, or both.

    With a Coach who expects real soccer out of the team there is a ”chance” for us soccer to
    make the leap, from where i am sitting Landon is part of that or should be.