Arena: Donovan will “Definitely” play for Galaxy in 2013

By IVES GALARCEP

Landon Donovan isn’t ready to return from his off-season, but according to Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, Donovan will be coming back eventually.

The Galaxy opened their training camp on Monday and Donovan’s absence quickly made waves, but Arena put to rest any notion that Donovan wasn’t returning in 2013, stating that Donovan will come back eventually.

“We’ve given him a little more time off,” Arena told media on Monday. “He’s definitely playing this year, but we’re just working out a return date that makes sense for all of us. We’re working that out soon.”

What do you think of this development? Glad to hear Donovan is likely on his way back to the Galaxy? Still holding out hope that he will be with the U.S. Men’s National Team for the March qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico?

Share your thoughts below.

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78 Responses to Arena: Donovan will “Definitely” play for Galaxy in 2013

  1. Freddie Footballer says:

    Good news, but even better news would be if he had said “I want to leave the Galaxy and go back to Everton”.

    • Henry says:

      You must not be a galaxy fan

      • Freddie Footballer says:

        True, I root for the Quakes, but I want to see Donovan challenged more and have him play at the highest level before he retires.

    • Rusty Schakelford says:

      What else does Donovan have to prove in MLS? When he first arrived the league needed a face and he was that guy…Noe, the league dosent need that.. I wish he moved to Everton. He excited fans when played for Everton more than when he plays for LA.

      • trickhog says:

        “What else does Donovan have to prove in MLS?”

        CCL Trophy?

        :)

      • MLSsnob says:

        Agreed, nows the time. Playing in MLS is pointless for him at this point.

      • Brian says:

        CCL.

        Until he wins that, the “what else does he have to prove in MLS” line doesn’t hold water.

        • Andy says:

          Literally no one cares about CCL.

          • OPMG says:

            The entire league cares about CCL. Winning that will give the MLS some legitimacy that can’t be gained any other way. It’s the only way to compare clubs from different leagues. The All-Star friendlies don’t count, sorry.

            • Stracho says:

              Exactly

            • limey says:

              I agree (almost) no one cares about CCL

            • Rusty Schakelford says:

              Exactly. The League cares about CCL. If the Galaxy won the CCL it wouldn’t add anything for Donovan. He proved he’s already a great player in CONCACAF. Therefore, he has nothing to prove. MLS is trying to prove something in CCL not Donovan.

    • zeygote note says:

      or to a club in Turkey or Portugal

  2. zeygote note says:

    Forget Donovan, we have Clint Dempsey

  3. MMV says:

    Damn. I was hoping he pulled a “Carson Palmer” where he refused to play for the Galaxy, retired, and then popped up at Everton. Oh well….. One can dream……

    Seriously, I’m happy that LD is returning. The man has played almost nonstop for 6 years and quite frankly that drained his battery. He needed a true offseason to get that mojo back. What it means for the National team, I don’t know. I could actually see him retire internationally just so he could get a few more years out his body a la Brad Friedel. Whatevever the case, LD has earned some time to contemplate his career and that should be respected.

    • drew11 says:

      He was really up and down last year. I don’t think it is clear he has enough left in the tank for the EPL.

      • Jared says:

        I think his up and down year was due to his lack of motivation to play the game. I think if he went back to Everton he would be forced to up his effort to the highest level. It’s hard to fault him for not showing up for every game in MLS considering that so few games actually matter as long as a team makes the playoffs.

      • Nytshade says:

        “…up and down year.” If I’m not mistaken, his numbers were 11 goals and 16 assists last year. I know of 18 other teams in the league that would love to have a player having such an “up and down year”. I don’t think it’s his fitness that needs work, I think he’s just lost some of the passion and hope that he gets that back with this prolonged time off, which he has earned 150%.

        • louis z says:

          I wonder how many goals were penalties and how many were against Chivas, if memory serves me right at least 3 on a single game.

  4. patrick says:

    i found the use of “return date” very interesting

    • Josh D says:

      This. It makes me madder that he’s stringing his team along like this. You don’t even have enough respect for your coach to tell him when you’ll be back? Or to your team mates and be there when training opens?

      Donovan is a legend. And statistically speaking he always will be. But as a person, he’s dropped very far down the list of popular US players.

      Luckily the USMNT has moved on.

      • Jared says:

        If the team was that bothered by it they could get rid of him. Clearly they have accepted his behavior or he would be receiving the Freddy Adu treatment.

      • Michael Stypulkoski says:

        What makes you say he’s “stringing them along?” In every league, in every sport, star players get star treatment. So he wants to skip a few weeks of practice – bfd. And who says Landon has “dropped very far down the list of popular US players?” He’s still a guaranteed starter, the national team has hardly “moved on.”

        • Josh D says:

          Based on last season he is not a starter. Zusi has out performed him in both club and country. Donovan hasn’t done much for the US team since the WC and he has lots of others being there for his country and not on some vacation just because he can’t decide if playing soccer is worth it.

          • GW says:

            Josh D,

            Between now and the summer of 2014 there is only one player who, should he play at his normal level, can make the USMNT a lot better. And it’s not Graham Zusi.

            JK could choose to be small, petty and vindictive with Donovan like you want or he could act like an adult and be patient with arguably the team’s best player and work with him.

            Donovan has earned that patience but more importantly the second he comes back, if he is motivated and in shape, the US is instantly a lot better.

            • MO says:

              i think Tim Chandler falls ahead of Donovan in this conversation

              • GW says:

                MO,

                If you could have only one motivated in form player, would it be LD or Chandler?

                LD can put a team on his back, do you think Chandler can do that?

      • Dainja says:

        Its funny…isn’t this kind of what Donovan accused Beckham of famously in Grant Wahl’s book??? stringing the team along and working around his schedule, not putting the Galaxy first, etc??? hmmm.

        • QCity says:

          I think something is wrong with comment moderation on this site. I posted almost the exact comment 30 minutes ago and it never appeared.

          • Ives Galarcep says:

            It didn’t appear because whenever someone new comments on the site their comments are held for moderation. Has nothing to do with the content in the comment.

            • QCity says:

              Ok thanks. I am certainly not new to your site but I guess I haven’t posted a comment since you switched formats. I have been working abroad and unfortunately have not been getting my soccer quota.

      • K-Town says:

        LAG fan here, and I am not mad at all. I think it is great that he and Bruce have been talking about this all along. He just helped the team win back to back championships. He is being honest about being burned out with the sport. Bruce is playing it right. If Landon doesn’t come back till summer then so be it. If he doesn’t come back at all, thank him for the great years of service. It’s not like LD is stringing Bruce along. That would not be fair and would make me mad.

  5. Jim says:

    I hope to see him in training by champions league… we have a shot this year!

  6. chris says:

    Youve done enough in MLS. Step up for your last couple years and play at the highest level

  7. UseCommonSenseDude says:

    Donovan is no spring chicken but he isn’t 34 yet, split town and play overseas or stay here and play in the states. I dont think he will get significantly better at this stage in his career, it should be matter of preference on where he wants to play now.

  8. Byron says:

    What the crap, why so much talk about retirement? If you’re only going to end up taking a few months break why say anything at all? What a whiny lil’ b@#$%

    Thanks for the memories, Landon. Now go away.

  9. qcity says:

    Seems like he got mad at Becks for not putting the team first a couple years ago and now he is doing the same thing. I am starting to lose respect for him as a teammate and team leader.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      I think the problem was Becks was putting a different team (England) before the Galaxy. This is more like Brett Favrah. I’m not sure Landon is on record about how he felt about that situation. The Beckham comparison is misguided.

  10. Landon says:

    “Hey boss, I know you are paying me and all but I am just not sure when I am going to return to work. Can I get back to you on that?”

    I wish I could do that.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Maybe if you won four championships and scored 100 goals and however many assists, or do your job’s equivalent of that, then maybe you could do that. ;-)

      • ConradB says:

        Totally. My buddy’s dad was a lead developer for Intel’s pentium processors. He was one of two people in the country who did his particular job (no idea what this was, btw). He got burnt out on it after a while and told them he wanted to quit. In response, they gave him a full year of paid vacation to recuperate and recharge. This does happen in other jobs if you are irreplaceable.

      • Landon says:

        Wow – I hope you are right and everybody feels that way, but if you are telling me the people writing the checks don’t want to know when their DP is going to return I think you are being naive. I expect there is concern that LA is going through a transition and now is not really the best time for Landon to be absent.

        • Joe B NYC says:

          I think we can all stop with the LA Galaxy stuff. This is about Donovan not wanting to play for Klinsmann. He obviously feels that JK left him hanging at Bayern… It could also be a case of him not feeling appreciated by some of his national set up teammates. I think he’s been playing in two different leagues for 3 out of the past four years. He can take a break.

  11. caramelcheese says:

    No one comes to mind who can replace Landy-cakes in the USMNT set up.

    • OBRick says:

      Landry-cakes? How many USA players have played as many games as he has the last 5 years? And rarely missed games due to injury. Landry-cakes is a dumb nick name for him.

      • TomG says:

        I think the name derived more from his lack of mental toughness rather than any injury problems. I think it started when he fled Leverkusen.

        • Rick says:

          Maybe it has to do with Laverkusen, but that was a long time ago.

          Anyway, it definitely takes mental toughness to play the amount of games he has the last five years. Also, I understand he played injured at times. Furthermore, his mental toughness showed when he scored in big games at the several WCs.

  12. Sean says:

    I don’t really care where he plays at this point. It’d be nice if Donovan could play in Europe some more. But, at this point, I’ll take Donovan staying in MLS over retiring so young. He still has some years left.

    Really glad to see he’ll be back.

  13. 2tone says:

    Thats cool. I still don’t see him with the USMNT until the June qulaifiers though. Thats if he even comes back to the USMNT. People seem to think that just because he is coming back to play for the Galaxy that automatically means he will be playing for the USMNT. He may say nope and retires from the international game.

    • AMPhibian says:

      +1

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Yeah, the US starts playing first. The Hex starts Feb. 6. He’s just about run out of time for that. The next round of qualifiers after that are in late March, after MLS and CCL start. Houston already has its players in for camp. If Arena plans on getting him in late for the Galaxy season, he’ll be iffy for those early season qualifiers too. The earliest it could be is June.

      Beyond that is the basic question of whether he’s done internationally, in which case that analysis doesn’t even matter. Like you said.

      I don’t foresee a Euro loan as some suggest. I take “return date” to mean when he is returning to soccer with the Galaxy, period. Arena mentions the time before that as “off time.” “Off time” does not sound like he’s about to head off to Everton. Nor does Everton plus LAG sound like an anti-burnout recipe. To the contrary, he will get a Rooney-esque in-season break it sounds like. As Gonzo showed last year, it’s the last few months of the season that really count anyway….remember all the smack talk early in the season?

  14. A says:

    This entire saga just goes to show you how much of a hypocrite Donovan is and what scoring a big goal can do to cover up some real character flaws.

    Anyone else remember Donovan roasting Beckham for “leaving the team hanging.” No doubt he’s produced some big wins for the US over the years, but the guy is an absolute head case.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      For me the difference between the two situations – which is what it is, completely different situations – is that Beckham was putting his place in the England squad before his place on the Galaxy. Due to the amount he was being paid to be an ambassador to the league and Galaxy that was the controversy.

      Landon is not leaving his club hanging so he can play with a different team. In fact if anything he’s considering what’s best for his club team by taking a well deserved rest after playing nonstop for so long. With the rest he will be in better shape to be playing at his best possible form, thereby helping his team more.

      With the statement by Arena “working out a return date that makes sense for all of us.” It seems he’s not leaving the team hanging at all. They will have a mutually agreed upon return so each can plan appropriately.

      • TomG says:

        True, though he did apologize and retract the Beckham statements so it’s more of a matter of rethinking and changing his mind rather than hypocrisy.

  15. Javier says:

    As a Galaxy fan I’m happy he’s coming back to play for them. I don’t care the date he’s coming back hasn’t been decided. He was hurt off and on through most of last year and he played through the injuries when he could. If the man says he needs a rest who is anybody to question that. Even Bruce Arena agreed towards the end of the season that Donovan had been playing a lot of soccer and he needed a break.

    As an Everton fan I would have liked to have seen him go to Everton. I think they really need him especially with the injuries they have. He’s played well both times he’s been on loan there and the fans really love him. I think his going back to Everton is complicated by several issues though (1) They simply can’t afford him. Everton have no money to buy good players and it seems they have little money to take on players on loan. David Moyes has asked the Everton board to leverage the T.V. money they’re going to get to buy players but there has been no movement from the board on the money, (2) While a loan move on the short term would make sense, it’s probable at Donovan’s age a permanent move would be something he’s after. He’s stated he wants to play for Everton and for David Moyes. Everton doesn’t have the money [see 1 above]. David Moyes future with the team is undecided. In everything I’ve read David Moyes appears frustrated with Everton’s inability to spend money on players and advance into Champions League play. So even Donovan were to sign a deal with Everton there is no guarantee he would play for Moyes beyond this season’s end, (3) It’s unknown how recovered Donovan is from his injuries. IF and I say IF Donovan is still injured it’s better he stays with the Galaxy where they will bring him along as needed to finish recovering from his injuries and he will still get playing time, (4) Donovan still has quality and speed which a lot of teams still desire even at his age. His contract with the Galaxy will expire soon and there is always the possibility he could go to Europe after his contract expires on a free transfer. That would be bad for MLS but haven’t they gotten enough out of him?

    As far his USMNT career goes I hope he goes back and plays internationally at least through the 2014 World Cup. When he’s on his game he is arguably the best player this country has produced. I know Dempsey is probably a better goal scorer and has played in Europe longer so spare me the Donovan hating rants. The USMNT team is a better with him on the team. With him and Dempsey the team is far better than anything I’ve seen through the first round of qualifying.

  16. THomas says:

    I’m guessing it’s more like “Definately…maybe”

    • Indigo Montoya says:

      he just thinks he’s gonna live forever, or maybe, he wants some lasagna at digsy’s diner?

  17. TomG says:

    Taking this with a grain of salt. It may well be true but it’s also something Bruce HAS to say no matter what the actual case is. LAG won’t be able to get any value if Everton et al know that LAG is over a barrel.

  18. Travis in Miami says:

    I could care less if Landon doesn’t come back into the USMNT picture until 2014 as long as he’s playing well for the Galaxy until then. He’s been playing at such a high level non-stop for so long. Give the man a break and save him for Brazil.

  19. CA says:

    I’ll just echo the comments from everyone else: he needs to go back to Everton (if they’ll have him). I think his hot and cold performance last season was all about motivation. I don’t think he’s motivated to play in MLS anymore.

  20. assocfoot says:

    Not an LAG fan, but happy to see him in MLS as an MLS fan. Why not play 2013 with the Galaxy and then go to Everton next January in the run up to Brazil, if he is in form? – and then he can figure out if he still wants to play after the WC.

  21. MikeG says:

    Enigma or enema…I get the vowels and consonants confused.

    • MikeG says:

      I would have respected him saying ” I need X amount of time off and if that bothers the Galaxy or USMNT then so be it. “

  22. Eric says:

    Arena doesn’t actually state that Donovan is coming back to play for the Galaxy, just that he’s definitely playing this year. Arena has been doing this long enough to be very careful about how he words these things so I think he may have just told us that Donovan is going to be sold before he returns to playing.

  23. Good Jeremy says:

    I’m glad he took his time off. I don’t care for the soap opera, but with the amount of loans, trials, and international games he has done over every break of the last four years he has to be burnt out. There’s a good reason that every professional league has offseasons, most for several months. The human body is not designed to take that level of physical exertion. If he can stick it out for another 18 months and do his swan song at the world cup I think everyone will forgive him.

  24. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Has he really had enough time to figure it out? When all this started it sounded like he’d be out 6 months minimum, maybe a year. Now speculation is that he could be back when Keane comes back in early February? Arena is saying all the right things now, but there is underlying pressure to get him in sooner rather than later…bring in Lampard and stop calling LD.

  25. ACS says:

    I say don’t start til May get transferred to Everton in August with 6 months left on contract so Galaxy get a little transfer money and be ready to go for WC qualifying in the fall.

  26. Mike R says:

    Yea, I would wait for an official announcement if I were an LA fan…
    Not that Arena would ever talk out of his @ss ……
    Might just be wishful thinking on his part

  27. Michael F. says:

    I’m totally psyched LD is back and hope he’s back for the Nats too. No one player can deliver for the Nats like he can. No, not even Dempsey. Look it up.

  28. Bac says:

    I would be interested in hearing all the fans in Ives’Land to consider this…Can we collectively name one well known player in our lifetime that has successfully completed what LD is now trying to do… in other words; Take an extended leave at a time when:
    a) He is still relatively young
    b) Coming off of multiple Championship teams
    c) Coming off his best well rounded performance in years ( meaning his last loan spell in Everton)
    d) His National Team could use him

    AND then make a successful comeback?

    Naysayers would say he is taking an extended leave because:
    a) He is not as good/quick as he used to be & doesnt know how to handle it
    b) He is allowing his personal life’s shortcomings affect his play/career
    c) He is no longer to poster boy for USMNT
    d) The dude just dont got the heart of a lion….

    No matter which side you are on, one thing is for certain: He created this issue, which means he has to work harder than ever before in his life and create the chance to become a hero to the USMNT with a stunning comeback..or he will always be remembered by most as a quitter. He wont be remembered like a Barry Sanders or Jim Brown that went out at the top… and because of this “break/sabatical” his legacy will be more like Buckner.

    I for one hopes he can make a monster comeback to the USMNT, but considering the circumstances I think the only way that could happen is to move to Everton where he would have to work a lot harder, and he wouldnt be coddled and babied by a coach and league if he stayed here… I just dont see it happening.