Donovan hints at possible retirement after MLS Cup

Photo by ISIPhotos.com 

With the 2012 MLS Cup Final looming, Landon Donovan has added another major subplot to the list heading into the league’s final match.

Donovan insists that the final could be his last game.

Following up on comments he made back in May about being burned out and needing a break from the game, Donovan stated recently that once the current MLS season ends he may not come back.

“I’m going to take as much time as I need and decide if and when I’m ready to come back,” Donovan told the Los Angeles Times. “I can’t put a time frame on that. If it takes two weeks and I’m ready to go again or two months or a year or two years.

“Or never. I don’t know.”

The U.S. national team star hasn’t been shy about expressing his disenchantment with the game, and he continues to stand firm behind the belief that retirement could very well be an option for the 30-year old.

If Donovan is serious, his departure from the game would have serious ramifications for both the Galaxy and the U.S. national team.

For the Galaxy, it would mean losing the team’s most influential player of the last seven years. A player with one more year remaining on his contract. With David Beckham already leaving, a Donovan departure would leave the Galaxy in serious rebuilding mode. There was always the possibility of a Donovan departure after 2012, but it had long been believed that if he were to leave the Galaxy at that time it would be to make one last run at Europe.

Now, a return to Europe seems like the last thing on Donovan’s mind.

For the national team, Donovan’s departure would be a setback, but not the devastating blow it might have been 2-3 years ago. The U.S. has basically been playing without Donovan for the better part of the past year, allowing new players to step in and emerge, and players like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley to pick up the slack from the consistent impact standpoint. That said, no new player has emerged to offer the national team anything close to what the dynamic Donovan has been providing for the U.S. for the past dozen years.

It still sounds so improbable to think that Donovan would really walk away from the game, and an extended break seems the more likely scenario for a player who is clearly worn out emotionally. He has always been such a fierce competitor that it is tough to imagine him walking away from the game now for good.

What do you think of this developments? Starting to believe that Donovan just might retire this winter? Still think he just needs some time off? See him being a part of World Cup qualifying?

Share your thoughts below.

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130 Responses to Donovan hints at possible retirement after MLS Cup

  1. Alex G says:

    Donovan is just bloffing, he´ll never do such a dumb thing to his legacy and career.

    • PD says:

      I get that I’m playing arm-chair headshrink here, but anyway:

      It’s clear that legacy is not what he’s thinking about right now.

      Part if this is I’m sure about hyping the MLS final (the last time to see Beckham and LD), but that aside, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, he’s been saying this for awhile now.

      What I wish for this guy more than anything is to get his head and heart right. While it’s not quite a case of “I blame Yoko”, it’s clear his personal life with Bianca Kajlich has had a long-standing effect on his career (of course, why wouldn’t it) and this year for whatever reason it’s a harder hit than ever. Until these issues are resolved there’s no way he’s gonna make a call about the game that will let him sleep at night.

      I also have no doubt that there is an on-field element of “where is my challenge?” because he’s done about all he can in MLS and in truth he’s been about as key a player as he ever can with the NATS team, so the question is where does he go next? That challenge might not be in soccer.

      No one can dispute that he has been a superstar in American Soccer and perhaps the first American Soccer Celebrity. His legacy is pretty well set in my opinion. If he’s gonna leave, now is a good time in terms of giving the National team time to adjust to life without him before Brasil.

      • Gnarls says:

        Good analysis, PD. I agree his legacy is secure. In many ways, it makes more sense tor retire now rather than later, especially if the Gs win the Cup. Going out on top would cement his legacy, not endanger it.

      • Josh D says:

        And that has always been Donovan’s weakness: his mentality.

        He tried to tough it out twice in Germany and failed both times. He has had success with Everton, but doing it day in and out is something he has shied away from.

        He’s been a big fish in a little pond, and has enjoyed that status. Where should he go next? Go to Everton and test yourself. MLS offers him nothing anymore except a paycheck. He deserves more.

        I don’t even consider him a US national team player any longer, purely because he hasn’t been there when we needed him. If he mans up, great, otherwise the team has happily moved on from him. And in a couple months or “years” he does decide to show up again, the team will have moved on.

        Athletes have a short shelf life of active duty. He needs to enjoy the next four years because he’ll never get them back.

        And please, Cupid, shoot him with an arrow and find him a new girl to swan over. Ever since his divorce, he’s been sulking about. He needs inspiration!

        • The Squad says:

          Interesting post….

          I would disagree with the ‘fail’ thing over in Germany.

          It is apparent: Landon Donovan is a sensitive cat.

          In addition to that he is an athlete that has performed at the top of his sport for over a decade in the world’s largest media market.

          and of course, that market has transformed during his tenure. it s gone from singular beat reporter or privileged insider to the world of anonymous sniping and would-be expert opnion “internet-based” being the majority.

          The fact of the matter remains, we dont know what’s going on inside Landon’s head.

          Heck, the most gifted running back of all time simply called it quits prior to breaking the All-Time NFL records for rushing yards.

          Current ESPN college football announcer, Robert Smith, called it quits at the height of his career.

          Sure folks may cite concussions and the like, but maybe Landon has has reached his competitive peak and then some.

          Examples like Ireland National team captain Robbie Keane indicate that perhaps Landon has a few more years of excellence in him, but maybe the player has a little more Rickey Williams (NFL) and Andrew Bynum (NBA) in him than

          The likes of, well…Becjham, Keane and well Paul Scholes.

          Sorry Landon, more criticism I know.

        • PD says:

          I have to disagree. Don’t confuse your frustration over his European efforts with a lack of mentality on his part. Again, while Beckham gets the credit for transforming MLS, LD is the most important US player playing domestically. Bar none. He was also the go to guy for the NATs in the clutch times. Bar none. That doesn’t happen when you’re a cream puff. I wanted to see him in Europe as much as the next person, but again, that’s my issue, not his. His record of performance with the NATs and in MLS and with Everton, as well as the regard his coaches and fellow players hold him in, speak And will speak much louder than cyber-opiners like us.

      • Marden08 says:

        Well stated analysis PD. If he goes away into the night, the national team will miss him. He has been a phenomenal player for a long time. I am sure that his tenure with all of the criticism over the internet has been trying . But as PD says his legacy as a great club and national team player has been established. I support whatever he wants to do. But selfishly I hope he gets recharged in time to play for the US during qualifying and hopefully for the World Cup in 2014.

      • DJ says:

        I think a lot of people might forget that Donovan has a child. He had a pretty public incident around the time of the World Cup where a woman he had an affair with in England was pregnant. It may be that he wants to be an active part of the child’s life. That’s easier said than done when you’re a professional athlete. Maybe it’s not just his parents and other family members he’s missed out on. I want him to do what is best for him and his family, and if that means he walks away then so be it.

        I just think that there are deeper issues than needing to take a break that are going on with Donovan.

      • Seriously? says:

        That’s a rather kind assessment. One could also say that it’s a sign of how he’s rather weak mentally. Relationship issues are hardly rate in the general population, and definitely not with professional athletes, yet this rarely leads to players retiring. And he’s always had options for greater challenges than MLS, but whenever he wasn’t immediately successful – aka Everton – he came home crying, because he couldn’t handle having to earn his spot, as Dempsy was willing to do many times. Yes, his legacy is pretty secure, but running away when things weren’t given to him is part of that legacy.

        • Seriously? says:

          Darn typos, meant to say ‘…relationship issues are hardly RARE, especially among professional athletes…’

    • danny says:

      Drama queen!

      • TomG says:

        He does come across like a drama queen. He seems to be looking for attention. He has been dealing with the media a long time and knows what will become a story and what won’t, so it seems like he’s doing all this intentionally. If he wasn’t looking for attention, he’d just say, “It’s been a long season and I’m looking forward to having a break.”

        • danny says:

          It’s interesting how this is the one story about Donovan that seems to get a reaction from US MNT fans. Landon probably knows that all us fans have been paying way more attention to certain players in Europe, like Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, ect. while nobody cares about what he’s doing soccer wise in the MLS.

        • AdamFromMich says:

          I feel sorry for Donovan. It’s tough to be a drama queen when you’re on the same team as Beckham.

      • mo says:

        no just poo$i

    • Ross says:

      What are you talking about? Donovan’s is the best American to ever play the game. There is no denying that.

    • Bobb says:

      Donovan isn’t “bluffing”, he just wants out of MLS and knows Everton doesn’t have the money to buy him, so he’s forcing the Galaxy to let him go. Good luck to him in Europe, he has certainly more than earned it.

      Some predictions:
      -Donovan ends up in Europe, most likely Everton
      -He is a big part of the US team in World Cup qualifying
      -He becomes the first player in soccer history with 50 international goals and assists
      -He plays a big role on the US team at the 2014 World Cup
      -He comes back to MLS circa 2016
      -He is a role player for the US at the 2018 World Cup
      -He retires from MLS and the USMNT after that, having established himself as the first great American soccer player

      Book it.

  2. Good Jeremy says:

    If I had to guess I would say he sits out until the start of the next Premier League season and then plays with Everton until WC 2014.

    • kpugs says:

      And MLS will suddenly just let him leave? He’s signed through next year. They have done their best to tie him to the league with metaphorical chains since he first got here. And there are literally ZERO examples of the league ever just letting someone go when they want to if they’re not a free agent.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Those so called chains were in exchange for not-so-metaphorical paychecks that he signed up for, even when he had a chance to skate on a “free.” And they’ve been letting him out on loan repeatedly, so it’s not like he’s chained to a radiator in HDC.

        FWIW, Becks has a year left on his LA deal — although I’m not sure if it was really 1+1 option structured where he can decline the option and walk — so that may be a test of your argument that MLS doesn’t release contracted players.

        IMO that’s all academic because I see his issues as personal not sporting. Or if you have to link the two….motivational.

    • quozzel says:

      That would be my best guess as well. I think if he “retires” for a few months and doesn’t return to the LA Galaxy when their training camp resumes in February that MLS would be a lot more inclined to sell him at a price Everton could actually afford, especially since he’ll just leave on a free at the end of 2013 anyway.

      I think he wants a break. Once he gets it, I think he’s going to spend his last few good years in the EPL.

      Personally, I always thought he looked better at Everton even than with the LA Galaxy. Donovan is a role player at Everton, and just has to be one guy among several talented guys, and isn’t forced to carry the team there. I think that probably suits where his head is at a lot more than being the “American superstar.”

      • ronniet says:

        correct me if i’m wrong, but didn’t Donovan assist on every goal for the toffees in his last stint over the winter? If that’s not more than a role player, i don’t know what is! Plus he was voted Everton player of the month in his stint before that so clearly he’s more than a squad player as some(haters) would like to suggest! If he get’s his mind right and goes to England to finish up his career, i could see him being a consistantly fantastic player in the BPL

    • Josh D says:

      I can’t imagine Donovan can take off that much time then just hop to Everton at his age. Especially since this season has probably been his worst for years. If he’s going to make that jump to Everton, he must keep himself fit and heading over to Everton now is his only chance to do so. Even if it is only to train for a couple months until he decides to properly move there.

      He needs loving? Everton fans adored him.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Amen. The performance of players who took a lengthy break between their season/ release and dropping down to MLS has been spotty at best. The notion that Landon could climb the ladder to Everton after not just getting some downtime but taking off months into next year, doesn’t hold water.

        For that matter, the whole “sit down strike” theory doesn’t hold much water either. Not only would you be implying a traditional workhorse player is willfully lazy, but he’s had enough success with getting loans and trials, and even an Everton offer I believe, via the direct route, why would he proceed by indirection? And after witnessing the whole Fulham-Dempsey drama, do we really think he’s going to weaken his legacy playing those kind of games? Even Dempsey’s want-away was pretty well openly known.

        So to me the best way of understanding a player saying I want a break and I’ll see what I do — is he means literally what he says. FWIW, that he has missed games for the USMNT as well as discussed LAG this way suggests it’s a broader issue, and not just club affiliation shenanigans.

  3. Vic says:

    He’s burnt out from not having a break in a long time. MLS has a long break. After he takes it there’s a good chance he will be refreshed and come back. However, nothing is certain.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I’ve come to favor the burnout explanation because technically he and the ex separated 2009. That might have been unpleasant and emotionally scarring but it was also a while back. I think he’s simply started physically and mentally breaking down from soccer soccer and more soccer. This is a potential downside to all the “offseason trials and loans” arguments. I know Klinsi was a big salesman on this until lately.

      • byrdman says:

        Do you remember during the interview after the stoppage time goal in the 2010 WC? He made a point to say hello to Bianca his ex wife. I wonder if he didn’t hold out hope for reconciliation. Then she got married this year or last, and life is not the same. Just my thoughts from a far, and not very well informed, to be honest.

        • Rory says:

          I remember that shout out… and then the baby story that came out.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          They were separated before South Africa. Maybe he’s thinking about what you suggest but let’s be real, she’s engaged, and I don’t see buzzwords like “home-work balance” or “I want a family” or “I made mistakes on the road” slipping out in the interviews. He instead sounds like a burned out or bored elite pro athlete. If this was Michael Jordan he’d be headed towards minor league baseball. I would sometimes get bored with soccer and what to emphasize something else….so I was also a track spinter. I think it is simply what it appears to be.

  4. Murphy says:

    This guy needs to become familiar with real suffering… Read the news every day. Then think about the fact that he has 3-4 years of soccer left and a lifetime to hang out and recover from his grueling playing career. Why not retire after the World Cup in 2014? This makes no sense. Take the long MLS off-season and go to the beach. Come back in March and realize things will get better…

    • Jake says:

      You don’t know him. Don’t tell him about “real suffering”. If he doesn’t want to play, he should retire. I hope he sticks around from a selfish standpoint, but telling him what he needs to do isn’t YOUR job. It’s his!

    • Iggy says:

      i’d agree with you in some regard, but this guy has had the weight and hopes of US Soccer on his shoulders for the better part of a decade. Ridiculous amounts of travel, injuries mounting, feeling like you’ve already accomplished all that is within reason….its not hard to understand him wanting to walk away.

      He doesnt exactly owe us fans anything else.

      But, i do hope he gets over it and is back next season.

    • Eurosnob says:

      I think you are a bit harsh on Donovan. He will be 31 this March and has been pretty beat up (knocks and injuries) in the last couple of years so it is quite natural for him to think about retirement. Perhaps a trip to the beach will cure it all, but I wouldn’t judge him if he decided to retire.

    • Alex says:

      He doesn’t owe his playing career to anyone.

    • matt says:

      Dude are you joking? People switch careers all the time after they get tired of one, it’s not because they have a poor grasp of suffering. He doesn’t owe us anything, and if he does stop playing now he’s still accomplished enough to hold his head high through the rest of his life.

      • Murphy says:

        Come on. Donovan has not had the kind of injury-plagued career that other players have had. He has had some long seasons with Everton/LA/summer games with the US in the World Cup and other competitions. That’s his job, and he’s a great player. The US needs him for 2014. And over the last month we’ve heard about him struggling with the decision of whether or not he should retire at 30. The way he brings it up all the time is what gets to me. Say what you want about Beckham being all hype but look at the great lengths he went to in his attempt to make it to the World Cup in 2010. Donovan doesn’t do himself any favors by publicly agonizing over this. If he didn’t want people to be mad at him for wanting to quit, he shouldn’t have been one of the best American players in history.

        This would be bad for the US and I’m sure Donovan would regret it in the future. I hope he stays on. He should go back to Everton or somewhere else if he needs something to rekindle his interest in playing soccer for a living. He should take the whole winter off and recuperate. Yes, I’m looking at it selfishly but this is pretty ridiculous. And if the pressure is too great, now is the perfect time to stay on. He can become the savvy veteran who plays an integral role in a quarterfinal run in Brazil (hopefully?)… Less pressure for him in 2014. The weight of the nation should be on Clint Dempsey, someone who wants to play and would probably not be having this public existential crisis… of course I don’t know Donovan but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to criticize him for retiring too soon.

        • CG says:

          “If he didn’t want people to be mad at him for wanting to quit, he shouldn’t have been one of the best American players in history.”

          Ridonkulous statement.

          And as far as the rest of your rant, he wouldn’t be having his “existential crisis” publicly if journalists would stop asking him about it. But they won’t because it’s their job, and he won’t either since answering their questions is part of his job. A job that he has done very well for nearly twenty years. For most that would translate to a working age of around 40, not 30. Too early? According to whom? You?

          He is still one of the US’ best players and I don’t want to see him retire, but I’ve been in coaching way too long to be surprised that he is burned out at this point. It’s his life man.

          • Murphy says:

            Yeah that was a joke. I’m saying people like me are disappointed because he is so good. If this was Klejstan contemplating retirement I doubt anyone would care. Yes, too early according to me. The guy is still clearly one of the best players in the country. It would be a great loss for the US team. If he doesn’t want to play then I guess he should go. But the way he talks about needing time away, not knowing if he is committed to the game, etc., is definitely going to provoke a reaction from people who 1) like to watch him play 2) like to see the US win games at the World Cup and 3) don’t play soccer for a living. So enough with all the sanctimonious “you don’t know him” comments.

            This moody Donovan emerged in 2006 and I thought he was past this when he went to Everton and dominated and then had a great World Cup in 2010. I hope he goes through that cycle again and finishes strong in ’14. That’s all I’m saying.

    • Sean says:

      Suffering is relative. One person could lose a loved one and be devastated. Another could and be okay. You can’t judge a person’s journey if you haven’t walked in their shoes.

      Here is a guy who was railroaded by fans no matter what he chose or why he chose it. So many of us put our own decisions for him above his decisions for himself, and he got a lot of slack and pressure. He proved naysayers wrong all the time and still so many never gave him credit. Maybe they were hearing all the praise for him and unfairly comparing him to Messi or some other top 100 player in the world. He may not be.

      But, he is far better than a lot gave credit for. And, he is a player like the US won’t see very often. He was ahead of his time when it comes to the US National Team. He will be missed.

      Donovan, hope you don’t retire. Always been a big fan, even since the US match at RFK in 2000, I think, when he bad bleached blond hair.

    • Gnarls says:

      Donovan isn’t an ignoramus; I’m sure he’s aware of the world’s suffering. That’s completely irrelevant to the situation.

    • David M says:

      “This guy needs to become familiar with real suffering… Read the news every day.”

      That’s just silly. How about you don’t eat for a day or two, and then, when you feel hungry, try to think of all those starving people in Africa. Do you think that’s going to make you any less hungry?

  5. Matt says:

    After all that Donovan has done for the US National Team, he deserves a break.

  6. Don Dallas says:

    I am not a hater of JK.

    That said, I thought one of the intriguing aspects of West Coast Klinsy was his ability to reach a guy like Donovan, who seemed to enjoy surfing and hanging out at the beach as much as he did playing soccer.

    If there was ever a “Zen” guy who could get balance in a player’s life and approach to the game, I thought he was supposed to be it.

    • Jake says:

      That is so far from the reason why JK was hired. Not relevant.

    • Vic says:

      Klinnsmann is a national team coach not Donovan’s personal psychiatrist. If someone is burnt out from something its hard to convince him he enjoys it. When a person is a millionaire they have more opportunity do whatever they want.

      • elgringorico says:

        +1

      • Don Dallas says:

        Some people have therapists, some people have friends, some people have both. I thought these two had a strong relationship that preceeded JK ever getting the USMNT gig.

        Few therapists could fully appreciate what LD is going through but JK could.

        And as a national team coach, it’s not like JK is based in LA and LD is in Germany. They must live within 15 miles of each other.

        • Rory says:

          Remember how JK was always supposed to be Donovan’s pick for coach and Dempsey was loyal to Bradley? Yet it seems Dempsey has been the anxious one to show up for national duty.

  7. Mario in Qt says:

    Fantastic player and individual. For my money he goes to Everton to end his career after the 2014 WC.

  8. T$ says:

    ….snore…

  9. Strider257 says:

    Well, I certainly hope he takes a break after the cup and comes back next year. He just has too much talent to walk away at this point in his career. I second Murphy on competing through WC 2014 and THEN retiring. Although Donovan has done a lot for the MNT, he still can be a significant help through WC 2014. Let’s hope his battery recharges reasonably quickly.

  10. Ja Ja James says:

    I believe Donavan has earned the right to retire on his own terms. He has done so much for U.S. Soccer and MLS and has left it all on the field. He has taken criticism (some deserved) and proven many skeptics wrong. Many fans felt he did not fulfill his potential ( I was one of them), but in retrospect, I think he provided U.S. Soccer and MLS exactly what was needed: a American soccer star.

  11. THomas says:

    He’s doing all of these interview and contemplating what will happen when he gets time off, speculating how long it will take. I don’t think he’ll know until after the chaos of the season and now the MLS Cup, and the build-up that comes with that, has passed.

    Hoping a real off-season, with no loan or training spells, helps him to clear his mind and get re-focused for Brazil 2014. We need him there.

  12. guisepperossi says:

    They say a national team reflects a nation’s character. In a country like ours, which is so big that it’s difficult to generalize. it’s too bad the most talented player in US history reflects whatever fraction of our people who are whiny and self-absorbed.

    • Jamie Z. says:

      I’m sorry, but everything I’ve heard Donovan say in regard to this subject has been completely rational and level headed. The man needs some time to sort out his headspace and he owes it to himself to see to it that he does. That’s a deeply personal situation and there’s no one to decide how it should be addressed save for Donovan himself — certainly not some putz on the internet who thinks he knows what’s what.

  13. MMV says:

    Donovan deserves to go out of his terms. He’s earned that right. I’d rather see him go out on top than keep playing just for the sake of keeping his legacy alive. There is nothing worse than seeing a star athlete holding onto a career that once was. Donovan has nothing to prove. He’s arguably our most decorated player. Yes, he’s 30 but he’s a 13 yr. veteran. That take its toll mentaly and physically. Maybe he’s ready to try new things in life and you can’t fault him for that. I would be gutted to see him retire but I would respect his decision.

  14. Bob34 says:

    Being burned out is an attitude of your own making. If he takes time and then realizes a year later he misses the game, it’ll take him awhile to regain his form if he ever does… What would that do to his legacy? Maybe he doesn’t care… I personally don’t get it, obviously he ‘deserves’ to do whatever he wants but if it were me, there’s no way I could walk away before the 2014 WC.

    • PD says:

      Bob34, to generalize your point, one could say that our perception of reality is a construct of our making. If you were experiencing his reality, perhaps walking away would make more sense. If he can change his perception perhaps his mind will change, and like you, I will hope for that, but am also accepting that his reality right now includes his retiring this year.

      • Bob34 says:

        PD,

        Donovan’s reality is that he can afford to let himself get burned out & retire. Most people can’t at 30. Personally, I’ve served my country for more than 30 years and been through all of the things that would burn one out as much as and probably a lot more than a soccer player. Ergo, I’ll always repsect what he’s done but it’ll be kind of hard to respect what he could’ve done but chose not to if he does walk away…

        • Mike in Missouri says:

          What else is he going to do in soccer? He’s the all time leading scorer for his country, the best field player in our history, has played and scored in 3 world cups, and has made the quarterfinals of the world cup. He’s won 3 or 4 league championships. He’s already accomplished more than 99.9% of any soccer player who’s ever lived. The only thing he hasn’t done is lift the world cup (which isn’t going to happen in 2014, sorry) and had a long stretch that ever so elusive “success” in Europe (as if helping to build our domestic league isn’t important.)

          Sure, if it was up to me, I’d want him to stick around until after 2014 WC and then retire to some secluded beach. But it’s not up to us. Life will go on regardless.

          People forget that he’s been a professional soccer player for 15 years now. If he was a NFL player, after 15 years he’d be 37. After 15 years doing the same thing, it’s appropriate for about any one to consider other career options.

          Thank you for your service to our country.

          • Mike in Missouri says:

            For those curious about his full resume, here it is:

            link to en.wikipedia.org

          • Bob34 says:

            It’s not just about what “he’s going to do in soccer” It’s also about what he could do for his country. I highly doubt that we’ll win the WC but how good would it be to have a fired up Donovan that’s also looking out for those youngsters just now coming up. There’s a lot he could teach them. I’m just sayin. I’m really not all that worked up about it one way or another. It’s just hard to look at a guy like Beckham and not have more respect for someone like that. Doubt very much if Donovan cares what fan’s on SBI think though….

            • Mike in Missouri says:

              Beckham spent half of his time on holiday from soccer the past 5 years circumnavigating the globe.

              If after 15 years you get burned out, I don’t blame him. He doesn’t have the same personality as Beckham, doesn’t enjoy and seek out the spotlight.

            • PD says:

              That’s an excellent point, but I think using the word respect interchangeably with agree is not ideal. Regardless, I thank you for your service and totally get where you’re coming from. I just think that we as fans too often tend to judge the character of a player based on our own desires. I guess that’s what celebrities are in a way, an opportunity to play the “boy if that were me” game… But these are people, not the characters we and the media and their agents create. We don’t really know who they are, we only observe what they do and react accordingly. LD has done amazing things to grow this sport and I inspire future generations, but if he’s done, he’s done.

  15. Andy says:

    If he does need an extended break, it would seem to time out perfectly for a move to Everton for the start of the next Premier League season in August. The question is whether MLS will let him out of his contract/sell him for a reasonable fee. It’ll be a good test of whether MLS truly cares about their players or just about their own success. Considering how much Donovan has done for MLS, they really do owe him the opportunity to finish his career with Everton if that’s in fact even what he wants to do.

    • Charles says:

      “It’ll be a good test of whether MLS truly cares about their players or just about their own success.”

      THAT is funny. It is a biz. The reason other teams/leagues may appear to care about individuals is that in the long run it helps them more to do so. It is a business.

  16. Skeeter says:

    He just wants the LA times to write about his sport

  17. Charles says:

    I never thought LD would go to Europe. Everton ? Just doesn’t make sense.

    LA is playing for another championship. Everton never will. You can boo-hoo it because you are in love with Europe, but obviously LD, like me, does not.

    LA will play in Champions League. Everton never will. Ditto.

    LA is home. Everton never will be.

    • Johnny Teninch says:

      Everton and anything in Europe, such as League 1 and 2 is way more of a home to soccer than LA, or MLS ever will be.

    • Prescott says:

      You must not know much about soccer. Everton is a far more prestigious club than LA and playing in CONCACAF Champions league is nothing compared to playing in the EPL, where on a week-to-week basis you play against the likes of Manchester Untied, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, just to mention some of the top clubs(even though I am of the opinion that pretty much every club in the EPL is at a higher level than you will find anywhere in the MLS and most likely the CCL as well).

  18. Brian says:

    It’s funny how people get angry at athletes when they retire. They obviously don’t really know what it’s like to play competitive sports. Essentially, guys like Donovan have been in boot camp since they could kick a ball while most others were playing video games or boozing it up. Yes, there’s lots of money and fun, but it’s also a huge toll on your body later in life. The professional athlete’s curse tends to be a rock star, short youth, followed by a much longer, physically ailing, and overall depressing adulthood spent desperately clinging to the past. Donovan seems to be intent on preventing that cliche, reading his statements over the last several years. I for one think it’s a great show of intelligence on his part.

  19. Vic says:

    Part of the blame should go to Bruce Arena and the Galaxy. Arena could have given him a little break after the World Cup. Arena/Galaxy could have also let Donovan rest rather than play in the post season friendlies. Also Galaxy refusal to sell Donovan forced him to go to Everton in the winter break rather than take a proper break. I understand Donovan was a big asset to Arena/Galaxy however some moderation could have come a long way.

  20. Vincent says:

    Does anybody know if this guy still loves the game anymore? All former players of any sport (soccer, football, basketball, baseball, whatever) that still loves their game would want to still play it if they could at a high level, much less walk away at this point in their career. Donovon isn’t in his prime but he still has 2 or 3 years left in him.

  21. ed - houston says:

    come on!! landycakes, don’t live up to that name… don’t do it!! don’t leave MLS !!

  22. TGA says:

    If he is done….then move on…..do not announce in a year that you are coming out of retirement….
    donovan’s legacy is already set….he had a nice career….period

  23. Al_OC says:

    He’s done a lot for the MLS and soccer in the US in general. He deserves to do whatever he wants.

    Personally, I see him in Dancing With The Stars.

  24. YO says:

    OK! I am tired of this wimp, lets move on and concentrate on some durable new talent to fill the blank.

  25. biff says:

    I am a big fan of Landon Donovan and I would love to see him back on the USMNT as captain and 100% committed–but I am really tired of his spilling his guts publicly over and over and over and over….

    Just do it, Landon, whatever you want to do. You will be supported whatever you decide. The USMNT will move forward with you–or will survive without you. The law of soccer physics states that voids will always be filled.

  26. Sabella says:

    The way the Galaxy are playing right now, it’s hard to see them losing the MLS Cup. If they do win, there is no better way to leave the game from Donovan’s standpoint.

  27. Duneman says:

    He isnt going to help LA or the USMNT if he isnt 100% ready to play and still hungry. He is at an age that is not uncommon for people to leave the sport or sports in general. Even MJ left with a few years in his tank to play baseball….sometimes guys just don’t want to play any more when they are no longer on the upward swing in their playing days.

    He can still be a star for a few more years, but he has been one since his teens and has never been into the “star” life even while living in LA. If he leaves now…he misses a world cup…so if that isnot enough motivation then nothing will get him to change his mind.

    Could he just be saying this because he really wants out of LA, needs a break, and then wants to start with Everton or some other team? Sure…not a bad way to say “look if you make the transfer too difficult i will just quit and give it all up.”. It would bennifit MLS and LA to not have a guy like Landon give up the sport. Even playing in EPL for 2 years would still give exposure to MLS/LA and keep him on the USMNT which also brings attention to the sport and league and would be better than him stopping now or playing half-hearted for another season while continuing to talk about being burnt out. LA has become a power club in MLS with LD. They have a shot at back to back titles. If he is really this close to being done it would be worth it for LA to keep him happy, get some “Everton” dollars (not as much as a ManU or PSG pay but no body is saying he would be happy on those clubs or that they even want to pay for him) and keep him in the sport while getting a new DP talent in for the next 3-5 years.

    I am hoping he gets some rest and stays through 2014-15 at least. I am hoping this is all just a way for him to stay in the media so the final is not just the Beck’s Show and a way to help keep LA from pricing his final year out of Everton’s budget at the risk of loosing him for LA and USMNT for good.

    • A says:

      Michael Jordan left basketball to play baseball because his dad died and his dad had always wanted him to play. Also, Landon Donovan is not Michael Jordan.

  28. A says:

    Landycakes has returned.

    Somebody find him a pacifier.

  29. Michael F. says:

    I think he believes retirement after the season is a very real possibility. From a fan POV it doesn’t seem logical considering he’s hitting his stride, playing great, injury free. He’s earned the right to do whatever his heart and mind tell him. If he leaves, I’ll miss watching him, I’ll miss watching the best player the US has ever produced. But I hope after the final gets his desire back, figures out a way to land at Everton and ends his career after the WC or beyond. He’s still a top 4 player for the US and if he retires it will be a bigger hit than fans think. And please don’t come with the ‘We beat Italy and Mexico’ without hin arguments. Best of luck LD. Whatever you decide.

  30. Vic says:

    Donovan has 5 world cup goals. There’s only six active players with that many. And maybe 60 in history to do that. If Donovan plays another world cup and scores two more goals he will be in some elite company. I think there’s only one active player with that many (David Villa).

  31. Michsoccer586 says:

    Landon is feeling bad, because he believes he’s better than Dempsey . Hes not even close. Guess we will have to find a new pk taker. Unluckily though he won’t be done and he will bring morale Down for ’14

  32. steveo says:

    putting on my pundit hat, I predict he’ll sit through the spring and think to himself “whew it’s so nice not to have to train every day and grind it out.” He won’t even watch the Galaxy and USMNT games and pursue whatever other interests he’s been holding back on and think how great it is to be free and do something different, but then, at some point, boredom will slowly start to creep in and curiousity about how his old teammates and friends are doing… he’ll start training again in July and be back with the Galaxy and USMNT for the final games of the Hex and into 2014….

    In my potentially flawed recollection, the list of athletes who have retired healthy and at the peak and walked away forever is shorter than those who have come back…

    For every Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Jake Plummer there are more Jordans (2x), Clemens (?x), Favres (?x), Magic Johnsons (2x), Lemieux, Ryne Sandberg, Muhammad Ali

  33. bottlcaps says:

    I’m not sold on the fact that if LD retires it would put the Galaxy in a rebuilding mode. Yes, Donovan is central to the Galaxy offense. But he was sometimes invisible and absent for periods of time with the Galaxy. The Galaxy did fine without him and without Beckham when he was injured.

    I’m not worried as the owners of the Galaxy will see to it that the best available marquee player out there will land at the HDC.

    The Galaxy IS the flagship of the MLS, with apologies to New York and Seattle. When foreign players enter into contract talks with their team, they throw around the “MLS” but more importantly they point to the Galaxy.

    When LD re-upped with the MLS the first time, after a successful stint with San Jose, he wanted to play in LA; he got his wish. He didn’t get his wish for a tranfer to Everton, as the price the MLS put on him as the poster boy for the League was too high (for his age)

    I think if Donovan wishes to stay in as a player, he should take the spring off and let his contract expire, and as a free transfer, go back to the EPL where his prodigious talent proceeds him and play his last season or two with a team he can be happy with (like Everton) or one that challenges him.

    Either way I wish him well.

  34. Thebumswillalwayslose says:

    There are two pieces to this, in my opinion.

    The first and most important, is that Landon doesn’t owe anyone anything in terms of his career. He’s been a professional soccer player for basically 15 years. He’s been the face of US Soccer since he was 17, the focal point of the US National team for the better part of a decade, and for a really long time, he was the one and only answer to “Name one US born soccer player”, for roughly 75% of the entire population of the United States of America. He’s arguably done more to raise awareness for US Soccer than anyone, ever. If he wants to call it good at 30, he’s certainly earned it.

    The second part (and this is me playing arm-chair psychiatrist), is that I think there’s a sense of “What about me? Don’t forget me, I’m still here!” to all this talk of retirement. Granted, whenever he talks about this its because he’s being asked, not because he’s going out seeking the media attention, but he could very well just say “we’ll see what happens at the end of the season.” Anyway, with the emergence of guys like Dempsey and Michael Bradley, and with Klinsmann taking over the role as the “face” of the team and of US Soccer, I think Landon is struggling to figure out his place in the whole scheme of things. He’s been the man for so long, now it seems as if he’s not really sure how to handle the fact that, while he’s still extremely important, he’s not the focal point anymore. It’s like he’s the guy that threatens to quit just so everyone can tell him how important he is and that he can’t quit.

    • d says:

      He’s the reason he is no longer the focal point. Other very good players have shown that they want it more, they’ve pushed themselves to play at higher competition, and they play that way. When they play badly, they are angry with themselves – they don’t publicly say “oh well, I’m not going to beat myself up over it, there’s more to life than soccer.” And maybe Donovan is more grounded that way, but in competitive sports, the guy that gets the focus is the one who plays like that’s all there is.

      He seemed really happy and fulfilled when he was on loan with Everton, and he got the fan adoration he craves. Here in MLS, people are just tired of his behavior.

  35. d says:

    Is anyone else tired of this merry-go-round?

    How many times has he gone through this?Every few months or couple of years he says he’s tired, burned out, needs to find himself, etc., etc. Then all the articles come out, all the public reaction of angst begin, then he gives 120% into the next game. Then comes all the praise and he’s happy once again. After a while, it starts all over again.

    Holy Cow, this guy is just too high maintenance and his ego needs too much stroking.

  36. TheFrenchOne says:

    LD will make the USMNT squad for the 2018 world cup, play as an impact sub, and we will all look back and chuckle about that time in 2012 when it looked like he was about to retire.

    good times.

  37. Turd Bradley says:

    Landycakes-

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

  38. wilyboy says:

    Very much hoped that tasting the finals again would stir something within him. Guess he’s for real.

    I still think he’ll come around, though it may take a few months. It’s kind of like imagining him dying suddenly without a diagnosis. It doesn’t quite compute.

  39. 2tone says:

    I respect Lando. But look the USMNT has been carrying on without Donovan the past year. When Donovan was in the team he wasn’t that effective besides against a poor Scotland team. If he calls it quits then so be it. But for me right now Bradley is the most important piece to the USMNT puzzle. Without Bradley this team has zero lack of leadership in the middle of the park. Dempsey is more skilled than Bradley, but Bradley brings more intangibles. When Bradley decides to; he can put the USMNT on his back. If Lando decides to commit to the USMNT then that would be awesome, but if he doesn’t well I think the USMNT will be able carry on just fine.

    Lando you owe nothing to the fans. Do what you think is right for you. Your legacy is already set in stone.

  40. MikeG says:

    Perhaps Donovan is trying to get out of his last year on his current contract to pave the way for a move to England? Posturing?

  41. chris_thebassplayer says:

    After all he has done, at this stage of his career he doesn’t want to be pressured to play through injuries by someone on the opposite end of the evolutionary scale. Once he returns to being fully fit and doesn’t have to deal with Arena anymore, you’ll see a very positive LD. If he gets out of LA, you will see him at the WC, if for some reason he can’t, if they make his life miserable, you will not see him at the WC…I really believe it is that simple. The “soul searching” is a diplomatic cover.

  42. John says:

    Would you guys be making these kind of excuses for Dwayne Wade?

    About the same age and time in b-ball. Played for our national team. Part of a big 3 like LD, Becks, and Keane.

    I don’t think so.

    Donovan is a wimp.

  43. ben in el cajon says:

    Well, likely no one will read this far down the comments, but there were two points made in Kevin Baxter’s LA Times article worth repeating: Donovon started playing professionally at 16, and since that time he’s averaged playing a competitive match (including friendlies, to be fair) every eight days.

    His body might be wearing down.

    I’m interested in how perky Messi will be in five years.

    • Henry (Hal) says:

      i question the every 8 days figure. He made 35 appearances in 7 years in Germany.

      • Nicole says:

        But let’s not forget – at least 2 of those years in germany (2005 and 2009) he was there during MLS offseason. And then another 2 years at Everton that was during MLS offseason. So that’s 4 years of playing nonstop 11 months out of the year (he took December off, but even then, not completely off because the Galaxy had exhibition tours in December)

        I dont’ question the game every 8 days at all.

    • A says:

      There is simply no possible way that 8 day figure is even remotely correct given how much time he didn’t play in Germany for years on end and when he had injuries.

  44. louisz says:

    “no new player has emerged to offer the national team anything close to what the dynamic Donovan has been providing for the U.S. for the past dozen years” this is so true, including the “current Donovan”.

  45. Heft says:

    Landon Doneverton knows how to get hits.

  46. Henry (Hal) says:

    if he does retire then he will be considered an underachiever.

    I’ve always thought he had a fear of failure. That’s why he’s stayed in the MLS rather than trying to force a move to Everton.

    Donovan is a good player. He’s not a great player.

  47. Dax says:

    So…. he goes on vacation in December, and comes back for pre-season in February.

    Donovan has been subtly telling everyone since May that he needs a break. His body is breaking down, and he needs to rest. Since March 2009, he’s played 44 of the last 46 months for LAG, USA and Everton.

    • Henry (Hal) says:

      then he should just have a proper off season and take a break. He’s acting like he’s Michael Jordan.

  48. Nicole says:

    Some of you folks are real jokes.

    Donovan weak mentally? Are you kidding? The decisions he’s made throughout his career, often going against public opinion, in living his life show an extremely mentally tough individual.

    I applaud him for all he has done for US Soccer. I hope he is not done simply because I enjoy watching him play and he can still play at a very high level. The National Team indeed continues to need him and rely on him, as it has for 12 years now. It simply lacks a lot when he’s not on the field.

    Be that as it may, if he decides to hang it up, I will say Thank You, Landon, for the privilege I’ve had in watching you play since you burst onto the scene as a teenage and then throughout the years. No player for the US National Team has ever made me sit up straight every time he gets the ball in antiticipation of what’s about to happen. For me, you are the best American player to have ever played the game.

    • A says:

      Actually, he’s incredibly weak mentally.

      That’s been the knock on him his entire career. It even spawned a nickname. And I’m sorry, the events of his football career indicate someone that is weak in the head and needs coddling.

      • Nicole says:

        I disagree.

        It takes great mental fortitude to stand up against the norm, against doing what everybody else expects and does. Shows extreme mental strength.

  49. Primoone says:

    Poosy!

  50. Thomas says:

    He needs to be challenged. He needs to play a new postion like CM. he has no challenge in his MLS season.
    1. move to Everton
    2. Try RB or CM, Everton needs a RB, and CM.

  51. MiamiAl says:

    Paging Eddie Johnson’s psychologist!!!

  52. DYCSoccer17 says:

    Everyone discounts that Barry Sanders walked away from the NFL at a young age with plenty left in the tank. Sometimes, players decide to leave the game on their own terms. Landon may do so, and I wouldn’t blame him. It would be a blow to the USMNT, but in the end, we can move on.

  53. Shane says:

    I didnt read the article or anyone’s comments but based on the headline all I can say is NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO . . .. .. . NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  54. Augie says:

    Who knows at this point… it seems that he is losing his love for game. It sounds that he just needs a break, and if Donovan were to leave I don’t know about the U.S. they are just making it through qualifying. So maybe Donovan is the key they need to qualify for the cup. I’m a huge usmnt fan and I really hope he doesn’t retire at such a “young age ” to retire. He is the greatest player in the history of the usmnt and losing him would be a big blow.