USMNT Daily Update: A closer look at the Landon Donovan situation

By IVES GALARCEP

So he isn’t finished with the U.S. Men’s National Team after all.

Okay, let’s face it, it was probably a stretch to think that Landon Donovan would never play for the United States again because of his decision to not return to soccer until late March, and thereby missing key qualifiers vs. Costa Rica and Mexico. That said, it still has to be very encouraging to USMNT fans to hear Donovan tell a group of USC journalism students on Wednesday night that he would like to return to the national team at some point.

Donovan’s statement, and the very revealing comments he made during his speech on Tuesday sounded like the statements of someone who is making progress in his search for inner peace. And they sound like those of a player who is moving closer to returning to his important place on both the U.S. National Team and Los Angeles Galaxy.

There is certainly still some resentment among some U.S. fans over the fact Donovan is going to be missing key games, but it might be time for everyone to accept the reality that Donovan had to go through this period of introspection in order to continue with a career that has carried a heavier emotional and psychological burden than we ever realized.

Even if you don’t buy any of the psycho-analytical stuff, and care just about his exploits on the field, you still have to appreciate the fact he is coming back to the Galaxy in a month, and stands a very good chance of being a part of the U.S. National Team for qualifying in June. He will come back rested physically, and we can only hope refreshed mentally.

When you consider what lies ahead in the next two years, the extra time off just might be what helps Donovan return to the form he enjoyed during the 2010 World Cup cycle. He will be taking part in his fourth World Cup cycle, and potentially his fourth World Cup, and while he is no longer the best player on the national team, he remains an important figure who is sorely needed on a team that just isn’t capable of replacing him just yet.

If anything, Donovan’s speech on Wednesday gave us a much-needed glimpse into where his mind is these days, and it is encouraging. Last year Donovan sounded like someone who had fallen out of love with the game, someone who had lost their desire to play. Now we have a much clearer sense that Donovan’s struggles were as much about his life in general as it was about where soccer fits into it.

In the end, Donovan doesn’t owe a thing to any of us. He has put in his time with the national team, played in some of the biggest games in USMNT history, and has scored some of the biggest goals and helped deliver some of the most important wins in history. He has earned the right to take time dealing with his own demons.

The irony is that it is those very accomplishments that have so many U.S. fans irate at his absence. We have grown so accustomed to his presence, his greatness, his contributions, that the mere thought of losing out on those things for any reason other than injury, or old age, is inconceivable. You have heard it plenty of times. How dare Donovan take for granted something that any player (or fan) would kill for the chance to have. The chance to be a part of the national team, and be a part of vital World Cup qualifiers.

That is where we too often get it wrong about Donovan. Comparing him to other U.S. players, or even international players. Yes, other players have experienced what he has as a player. Others have carried the burden of being a country’s brightest star. What others haven’t done is be Landon Donovan, live his exact life. Carrying the burdens of an emotionally turbulent childhood, and of a lost relationship with his father (only recently re-established), and the emotional scars of a failed marriage and the painful reality that he made mistakes that forever changed his fate.

None of us know what it is like to be Landon Donovan, person and player. All we can do is wait and hope that Donovan the person finds peace, and Donovan the player finds the motivation to get back on the field for the Galaxy and USMNT.

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123 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: A closer look at the Landon Donovan situation

  1. Tony in Quakeland says:

    What Ives said.

    • ChicagoBlue says:

      + 1

      • Nel says:

        +1

        It’s amazing to me what all LD has accomplished in soccer, given that it has never been his “be all/end all” thing in life. For some players, soccer is all they’ve ever known; clearly for LD, he’s had other interests. And to play at the high level he’s played at for lo these many years is quite an accomplishment worthy of respect. And I’m glad he still wants to play.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      +1 – “None of us know what it is like to be Landon Donovan, person and player. All we can do is wait and hope that Donovan the person finds peace, and Donovan the player finds the motivation to get back on the field for the Galaxy and USMNT.”

    • ljkadflksdflk says:

      People constantly argue over ways to improve the USMNT and build a world class team. Well, here is a perfect example of why we are not a top team. If we want to be the best, having a commitment like Donovan’s isnt good enough.

  2. Shane says:

    Donovan owes me $3.50 for the cheeseburger I bought him.

  3. Sergio of SF says:

    I never thought he was going to walk away from the US team. I really do think he just wanted to relax for a while. For someone that has been in the spotlight for so many years, I can’t blame him. He has nothing to prove to anyone and is looking out for himself. Good for him. I hope he is back in the US lineup come the June qualifiers.

  4. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    GREAT piece, Ives. I was torn over how to feel about him and you really brought new information and clarity to the very questions I was asking. Thank you. And here’s to Donovan getting back and being better then ever. Cheers. Oh year, I’m not so sure he’s still not the best player on the Nats. Let’s wait and see how he does when he’s back before we decide.

    • patrick says:

      Dempsey, bradley, and arguably cherundolo and even Jozy can be considered “better” than LD right now

      • Shake says:

        When was the last time Jozy scored? Right….

        When was the last time Dempsey put the team on his back? Right….

        Those are the only valid comparisons to begin with.

      • Michael says:

        Landon Donovan once held Clint Dempsey’s hand in a jar of acid at a party

      • solles says:

        Better than an LD who’s not playing? Go on. Groudbreaking stuff there.

        The Nats are a different team without LD, substantially so, what other player can you say that about.

  5. MiamiAl says:

    Everything about Donovan goes back to his abandonment issues with his father. I would have thought Bruce Arena all the years they have been together would have been able to be that figure that clearly Donovan needs…

    • brent says:

      no.. it goes back to a fight he had with his sister over a toy. She wanted it, and so did Landon..

      Schmuck.. lol

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        She got to it first and he kind of ran alongside her, no effort to take the toy off her. But then when mom took the toy back he’s off and running on the attack…..

        • Riggity says:

          I guess ill make it four dumb comments in a row on this post…

          • Rory Miller says:

            Sounds like his dad has came back in the picture pretty late but just when Landon needed him the most. That showing up at the end must be a family trait…

            Go go go USA!

  6. SAS says:

    we don’t need Donovan. we have Shea and Zusi

  7. JJ says:

    Welcome back, Landycakes

    • OBRick says:

      The Landycakes name is really stupid. What USA player has played as many games as he has the last five years. How many USA players have scored so many clutch goals in very stressful situations? Furthermore, during all of these games he has barely sat out any due to injury.

      Landycakes he isn’t.

      • ljkadflksdflk says:

        Yes unfortunately he is. I absolutely love the guy but his level of commitment just isnt good enough. I cant think of any other player I love on the level I support Landon with anything close to his commitment level. If jj watt decided to skip the first month of the season the entire city would riot and put for sale signs in front of his house.

        • ChrisB says:

          Because I guess aside from the regular 16 game season in the NFL they have a lot of National Team camps, friendlies, and qualifiers. Not to mention loans that have you playing in another league for what should have been your entire off season.

        • solles says:

          His level of commitment isn’t good enough? When was the last time you looked at his stats? What more do you want from the guy? Jeez some people just have to moan.

  8. Kevin_Amold says:

    Big ups to Jesse Xiao for this information.

  9. Austin says:

    Wonderfully put, Ives, great post.

  10. SAS says:

    search for inner peace? what is he… Bruce Wayne? what’s going on in his head. Is he regretting not succeeding in Germany or regretting some of his hairstyle selections (looking at you bleached blonde)

    Donovan. It happens. It’s Life. Get back in the game or not. But don’t string us all along. Your happiness is number 1.. Don’t feel as though your country owes you or that we will fail without you. We must learn to live without you as we learned to live before we had you.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Haha. That one made me laugh. Thanks for that.

    • Josh D says:

      I have to agree. A lot of our players have daddy issues so it’s a poor excuse. Jones being one of them. Dempsey could have issues based on losing his sister which gave him the ability to play soccer at a competitive level. And athletes go through divorce like dating. Big deal, he “shouldered” the US team for so many years. Many sports stars do this. It’s not even like he’s shouldering us in a media-hungry environment like 80% of other countries. Let’s see how he would have acted with England’s media on him or Italy’s. No one outside of our niche truly care what Donovan does. If he fails on the international scene at the World Cup final, a week afterward, our media would forget his name.

      Donovan has always been weak minded going back to his first stint in Germany. What Donovan needs is to always feel loved. He acted poorly when Beckham arrived, he acted poorly when Klinsi called him out, etc. When he doesn’t feel loved, he quits or leaves.

      These are just excuses. Sure, he may have needed time off. That’s why they get like five months. I’d gladly bust myself for seven months, knowing I get five to relax except for the odd couple of US games and the start of preseason. And it was his decision to go to Everton so he can’t blame anyone or ask anyone to feel sorry for him.

      Donovan needs to take a look around places like Detroit or even some places around LA to realize what he has. Or look at the kids with his name on the back of their shirts to find inspiration. Or take up painting like Brek. Or grow up and realize everyone has their own demons and 99% of us can’t escape them because we make millions a year so we have the liberty of turning off.

      Rant over.

      • Riggity says:

        So what, this is America. If you are valuable enough to your employer that they are willing to be flexible enough to allow you to take a leave of absence I don’t see what the issue is. So just because you and I (and millions of others) don’t receive the same preferential treatment from our employer we should view him as a baby? Everyone always says “he plays a game…” It’s not a game to him, (IT’S WORK) and from the few professional athletes I know I can tell you that any big time professional sport is not just a “game” but very much a profession that none of us could comprehend unless we lived it. There would be no articles if any of us got a divorce because we were dedicated to our profession, or if we took an extended leave from our jobs(and no one would care if we did). But for LD it’s the exact opposite. It works like this, if he wouldn’t have taken the time off his form would have suffered which means he would have the same people criticizing him saying “…he’s lost it”. But with the time off he will be able to dedicate himself more s than had he not, giving him a better chance to reach his full potential…hopefully. But if you want to dislike him, he should find a better reason than you disagreeing with the time he took off from his JOB. Especially when he did it a a time where it would minimize the amount of games missed.

      • solles says:

        “Donovan needs to take a look around places like Detroit or even some places around LA to realize what he has.”

        Discovering “what he has” is, I suspect, very much one of the reasons he’s taking time off. Too many US fans are being too selfish about this.

    • V-8 says:

      Maybe Robbie Rodgers announcement has helped Landon with his struggles.

      • Joe says:

        Interesting take. Maybe Robbie’s admission of who he truly is made Landon realize that his problems – while still big in his eyes, and rightfully so since it is his life – pale in comparison to some. And this someone was someone he shared the locker room and national team pitch with to boot.

        Initially I was hella pissed at LD for reasons Ives mentioned. But after a few weeks I felt that this too shall pass. It has, it will, and if we enter June in good standing in the Hex and have a rejuvenated and in form LD and Brek gets some good burn with Stoke, our wing problem could ostensibly be 180 degrees from where we are now.

      • Rooney's Hair Piece says:

        More likely it helped Chicharito. Let us not forget that he was conveniently absent form the hotel debauchery last in Ecuador in 2011 . . .

    • Michael says:

      Unlike a certain East Londoner now living in Paris, Donovan has been honest about his feelings throughout this process. As a Galaxy fan, I have nothing but contempt for Beckham and his spin machine, and nothing but respect for Captain LD.

  11. Andrew says:

    Haters gonna hate.

    Am ecstatic that Donovan is returning (which I never really doubted, I suppose, but it’s great that he confirmed it himself). Also wish that he returns having sorted out all the personal problems that any one of us would take time off to fix as well.

  12. Mc says:

    Nice Ives. spot on.

    He obviously takes his career with the US team very seriously/personally. Depression after 2006? Yeah, the fans have to deal with some disappointment. This guy has to LIVE it. A couple months off is more than reasonable.

  13. A says:

    When you think about it, it’s quite amazing that we had our best year in USMNT history (by winning percentage) and Donovan wasn’t playing.

    Easy for people to forget that Klinsmann came in, and shortly after our best and easily most important player–in his prime–had a midlife breakdown, injuries, and left the game.

    It’s like taking Ronaldo off Portugal or Zlatan off Sweden. Put him at an immediate disadvantage over Bradley and that’s not including the myriad of other injuries and players losing form we’ve had to deal with.

    Donovan, as polarizing as he is, would play well in a more possession oriented team and would be the talisman that the offense needs, which in turn allows the other players to more successfully execute their roles.

    Fact is, we have only a handful of players really capable of playing well on the international scale and he was easily the best and most important to dictating style and speed of play on the field.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      I find the idea that the USMNT had a great year last year, usually offered by Klinsmann apologists, completely laughable, It took an extra time goal in the penultimate game of round one to secure things – and we very nearly faced a potentially disastrous last game.

      Results in Mexico and Italy were nice to get, but they were friendlies, they were hardly sterling performances and they were not appreciably different from games against those two opponents int he past. (The US 1-1 against Italy in the WC was a far, far greater achievement)

      There was only one game last year where the US looked utterly convincing and dominate. It was against Scotland. Need I remind you who scored the goals?

      • Joe says:

        “If if’s and buts were dollars and nuts we’d all be rich and full”. How about if we don’t get an absolute gift from the gods in the form of a cross bar against Algeria – or we don’t get that amazing sequence for LD’s goal, we would be rejoicing right now because “Klinsi has us on the right path”? I love soccer, I love the US national team, I despise for the most part US national team fans. Good God, the biggest batch of over reactors ever.

        Just breathe, one game does not the world make.

  14. Jeff V says:

    I still think he’s a spoiled brat, but would like him to play RW.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      What exactly makes him spoiled or a brat? He grew up having zero connection with his father which some didn’t even know about until this student at USC twitted about the speech Donovan was giving at his Sports Journalism class. And what makes him spoiled the fact that he was MLS’ poster player? Believe me that isn’t exactly a role that has no downside

    • Riggity says:

      Duh, hes an athlete

  15. landon donovan definitely owes me my library card says:

    Once Clint is playing in the CL in the Fall you will forget all about Landon Donovan. Once Dempsey scores a hat trick in the opening WC match for the USA you will forget all about Landon Donovan. Once Clint Dempsey leads the USA to the WC semi-finals you will forget all about Landon Donovan.

    • David M says:

      Clint is sitting on Tottenham’s bench right now. And I’m afraid, that’s where he’ll be spending a lot of time over the next few months.

    • Riggity says:

      Lol, if by the grace of god the US gets to the WC Semi’s, it will be Deuce AND Donovan who do it not Deuce and a band of misfits

    • THomas says:

      If I imagine your post was written by an angry and bitter Clint Dempsey in the cold late night darkness of his London flat, it makes me laugh.

    • OBRick says:

      Wow how easily you are willing to forget all the goals/games he has given the USMNT.

  16. Dan M says:

    Donovan is responsible for the cruise ship Triumph, that meteor over Russia and all other paranormal phenomena occuring in the past few months. He needs to restore the earth’s magnetic field into balance by returning to play for USMNT.

  17. zaw says:

    um what mistakes has Donovan had that changed his life forever? his divorce? the rumor of him knocking up an Everton fan?

    • Edwin in LA says:

      From his responses it sounds like getting married in the first place was a mistake and also not reaching out to his father earlier to mend whatever was broken or even missing in their relationship. He also seems to talk about his stints at Bayern as mistakes, which a lot of people have always criticized him for not toughening up and well it sounds like he things that was a mistake. Also the bad performances in 06 WC he pointed out that as mistakes,

      This link gives you Jesse Xiao’s twitter feed where you can read the different responses to questions from Donovan that Jesse posted. And the convos with other people on twitter and even some Journalists like Ives and Grant Wahl

      link to twitter.com

  18. Lake says:

    Great write-up, Ives. So often we forget that these athletes are real people with real issues. A lot of times they forget themselves. I hope he’s finding peace and I wish him the best, whatever he decides to do.

  19. Ryan B says:

    I think this is getting too much attention. I don’t think anyone thought he was done, and I think it’s a bit ridiculous him taking an extended break is such a big deal. What I understand, it’s not like he had a longer season than several other professional players. Look at the Euro 2012′s and the players who didn’t get a long break. He isn’t an exception is what I’m getting at, and therefore the media shouldn’t make mountains out of mole hills.

    Not hating on Dono, glad he’s back in the fold and hopefully he will be the spark we need to finish qualifying.

    Rock Chalk

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      The result in Honduras and looming Azteca game certainly made this a much bigger deal. The US team is struggling. Its best ever player is out on personal leave. Who can save us? The story speaks for itself

    • Edwin in LA says:

      Yeah but Donovan has had to play in his own Continental tournament the Gold Cup the same way European players had to play in the Euros. And after long deep runs in the MLS playoffs with the Galaxy which extended his seasons until late Nov/early Dec he went on 3 short loan stints during the 4 previous offseasons prior to the current one. Only time he had a true vacation was Dec 2010 to Feb 2011…he had the South Africa WC in Sumer of 2010…Confeds in summer of 09 etc etc it’s been a while since he got more than X-Mas….and remember the Galaxy would go on those Asia or Oceania tours before or after the holidays but after MLS cup playoffs….

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Actually, every so often a player like Wayne Rooney gets time off. Back in the day the US didn’t call in every NTer for every game, they sometimes risked leaving out the Euro players, Reyna in particular did that. Chandler himself has been the beneficiary of some indulgence. It’s cost-benefit and for a player of Landon’s stature, a break is probably preferable, with his upside, to a likelihood of retirement otherwise.

      Players like Michael Jordan have taken similar breaks.

      Granted, I think they need to monitor him when he comes back because it should be a meritocracy and there are fitness and form risks in blowing off soccer for a while. But he’s probably still an XI guy and doubtless part of the 23 if healthy. At which point all the sturm and drang from grumpy fans verges on academic. Unless he’s totally out of shape or hurts himself he will be getting re-involved.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Hard to see many European players have the same combination of factors affecting them that LD has the last few years. MLS League play with its much more intense travel requirements, playoffs all the way to the finals 3 years running, CONCACAF CL and it’s travel. Post MLS Galaxy tour of AUS, Everton loans, USMNT duty. Add a divorce which for many has a very intense grieving process and you have a pretty good recipe for physical and mental exhaustion. Honestly, I don’t get the resentment from people. If the man says he needs a break in order to perform at the level he wants to, I respect that and am more than willing to take him at his word. Simple as that.

  20. Trey says:

    Ives put it best. Hearing fans belittle Donovan for his choices and actions is pointless. We have to respect what Donovan has done for the US, and will continue to do.

    • flanders says:

      what about the 06 WC

      • Edwin in LA says:

        Read his comments about dark times and you’ll see how even he feels.

        link to twitter.com

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Removed the allusion to a bad word that pushed this into the Awaiting Moderation Column…

        link to guardian.co.uk

        “Man of the match

        Landon Donovan – A touch of class in a chaotic match. The American golden boy was the most technically accomplished performer on the pitch, displaying the skill and vision to make Italy’s defence look ordinary.”

        He didn’t have a great WC in 2006. But he had a great game against the evenual winners. Maybe the best game anyone ever had in a US shirt in the WC

  21. the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

    Maybe can give some perspective

    “How dare Donovan take for granted something that any player (or fan) would kill for the chance to have. The chance to be a part of the national team, and be a part of vital World Cup qualifiers.”

    How dare many of you take for granted your happy childhood and great relationship/marriage. I’m not saying LD is the first to encounter these issues, but he is dealing with them the only way he knows how. He hasn’t had much of a chance to do so given the lifestyle he has had as professional soccer player and face of American soccer.

    • Northzax says:

      Frankly put. Also: how dare you take a vacation? Don’t you know there are unemployed people who would kill for your job?

  22. kimo says:

    hat tip Ives :)

  23. kpugs says:

    That resentment has bee well-earned by Donovan. I certainly want him back on the national team again, but that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to think this is total d-bag behavior.

    Imagine if Tom Brady decided to sit out the first 4 weeks of an NFL season. I don’t think that would go over too well.

  24. Oranje Mike says:

    Being a part of the national squad is a commitment. If Landon is not willing to accept said commitment, for whatever the reason, he should not be called upon. It’s that simple. Should he wish to return he should have to earn his spot back and if I were in Klinsi’s shoes he would start on the bench. Landon’s “maybe, maybe not” attitude does not cut it with important games in our midst.

  25. jerp says:

    what are the odds he plays in 2018? i think he might

  26. louis z says:

    Sounds to me he is NOT going to contact JK. If JK wants him he is going to have make the first move. Sure that would be normal procedure for most new comers but in LD’s case it was matter of him wanting to play soccer and letting USMNT know. We should see how this plays out, if LD doesn’t shine with the GALS, should JK call him just by previous accomplishments?

    • GW says:

      LD has to get back in shape with the Galaxy and then prove he is in good form.

      At that point it is up to JK to call him in , if JK wants to.

      LD is being respectful of the process.

  27. Charles says:

    No one in soccer has been the face of his team as long as LD has and will be. Unique for sure.

    That being said, I am one that said he needs to appreciate his situation. I, like many would give anything to be in it. For him not to use that talent, would be a shame at best.

    Also, I gave up my left ball in exchange for playing time in his absence, willingly, but now it seems to be wasted. He is back, but that part of me is never coming back. Someone owes me something……put me in coach !

  28. Dan says:

    This won’t end well.

  29. Siberian says:

    Landon Donovan is my favorite soccer player. I first became a soccer fan watching him and the US team in the 2002 World Cup and he was the first player I became a fan of, him and Brian McBride. I just want to watch him play in a fourth World Cup because he can still play. And I think he’s a cool person as well–he’s been a great ambassador for the sport. I don’t expect him to play as well as he did in South Africa. He doesn’t have to. Donovan shouldn’t be the best player on the team anymore. It’s time for Michael Bradley to bring it. And I expect Jozy to score some goals in Brazil. I didn’t expect it in South Africa because he was young, but now he needs to put it into the net if he’s going to be starting in the World Cup. I just want Donovan for one more World Cup because he still belongs on the field and he is awesome.

  30. ed - houston says:

    Welcome back?

  31. Adam M. says:

    I have no idea why Donovan is really taking a break, but its all too easy for naysayers to latch on and name call when mental health is the issue rather than a physical knock. Ironcially, its just that sort of thing that keeps people suffering from mental health issues from getting necessary treatment. Maybe Donovan is just bored with his job. Maybe he rightly or wrong feels entitled to a long vacation (although the USMNT is not his employer). Maybe he acting out because he is upset with Klinsman or Dempsey or a hundred of other things. But maybe he is privately trying to deal with mental health issues and doesn’t need for his critics to hound him about things they aren’t meant to, and don’t have a right to, understand. Again, I have no idea what he is really doing. But a little caution and moderation in tone just might be in order here. Donovan has earned that much from US fans.

  32. Vic says:

    I wonder how many people that criticized Donovan for taking a break are under age 21? I think its alot of people who have no idea what its like to be burned out from something find it easier to criticized somone who’s been doing the same thing for so many years. Whether its work or sports.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      A very good question. I’m only 23 and in my first year as a working professional. I can already relate to the “burnout” feeling. I don’t think I would have been so forgiving of Donovan’s decisions a year or 2 ago.

  33. Nathan says:

    I’m sorry if I don’t get on the welcome back LD love fest. But honestly, I don’t care who you are, YOU don’t get to pick your time on the national team. If the team needs him, why wasn’t he there in Honduras, or why won’t he be there in Colorado and Mexico?

    I hope that Klinnsman has the cajones to tell Donovan that he considers LD to be retired from international football as long as JK is at the helm. This is not LD’s team and the US will be alright without him. It’s called transition. Transition sucks, but you cannot have a player, whether intentional or not, be pulling the strings of his own roster position.

    LD – go find your peace. I wish you well. I thank you for your efforts in ’02 and ’10. Some great memories. But if you can’t be bothered to play for the Nats in all the matches of a qualification cycle, then we can’t afford to wait for you either. It just is what it is.

  34. Deac says:

    He may not owe anything to us fans, Ives, but I doubt the players in the US locker room feel the same way. If I were one of them, I’m pissed he’s taking this sabbatical to clear his head while I’m out there busting my ass for the colors. And the “face of soccer in the US” excuse is weak. He signed up for it.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      I’ve spoken to players, veterans, on and off the record, and I think the whole “his teammates won’t accept him” stuff is way overblown. At the end of the day, guys like Howard, Dempsey, Bradley, etc. have been through a LOT of experiences with him, and he’s stepped up on big occasions. He has their respect. They may not be totally happy with it, but the idea that he’s going to have a tough time on the team after all the years he’s put in is laughable.

    • GW says:

      That locker room is full of pros.

      If he is healthy and motivated, they’ll take LD back in a NY second because he instantly makes them much better.

      This is not high school or college. People’s attitudes are more flexible when dinero is on the line.

  35. Brain Guy says:

    Where can I find detailed coverage (or a transcript) of his “speech”? It’s hard to evaluate all of this in a vacuum.

  36. John Wyatt says:

    One of the reasons I love your site so much and one of the reasons I think it’s the best place to go for soccer news is that you remember that everybody we talk about in the game are also people. They do struggle with real life situations. They have hopes and dreams that may be different from our own. Thank you for the perspective you bring to the news of soccer.

  37. kaythanksbai says:

    He’s just some self absorbed, pampered rich guy. How hard could it be? Play a sport for a living & get red carpet treatment everywhere you go, plus fame, money, and everything else you could ever want. He should at least show up for his job, which he’s not even that good at. If he was from a Conmebol country he wouldn’t even be in the national team discussion. Klinsmann should tweet something like, “I got 50 pros working hard every day I can use. Good luck with your psyche LD. K Thanx Bai :)”

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      Ooh ooh! That puts you in the “How dare Donovan take for granted” camp. Ironic that you’re the one motivated by fame, money and red carpet treatment, while he’s the one with talent.

      • ljkadflksdflk says:

        If you earn seven figures get your butt to work and stop complaining things really aren’t that bad

  38. Brad says:

    Been a SBI reader for a long time. This article stands out against recent years(really 2 years) posts. Good to see it again. And if Ives actually reads this, good work on the podcast. That is great for american soccer.

  39. kyle detwiler says:

    i do agree with Ives, Donovan owes us nothing, he shouldn’t string us along, make a decision and go with it, but w/e he decides he is still the greatest USMNT player ever, the kind of guy i’ll tell my grand kids about

  40. Robbo says:

    Does Anyone Really Think Donovan Doesn’t Deserve Time Off? Let’s Not Forget This Started Shortly After Klinsman Took Over. In My Humble, I Don’t Think Donovan Wants To Play For Klinsman. He Did Not Have A Favorable Experience Under Him In Germany.

    • GW says:

      LD was brought to Bayern by Klinsmann.

      It was probably one of the reasons JK was fired.

      If Bayern was an issue then LD owes JK.

    • biff says:

      @Robbo: I also feel Donovan’s sabbatical is in some way connected to Klinsmann as head coach of the USMNT. But I am not sure what it is. Your theory is possible. I also have a theory. I will say that if this was going on in Germany with a star player and coach the sports press would have been digging deep to find answers and writing stories about it. US soccer press should be doing the same. Unfortunately is usually very reluctant to rock the boat on potentially controversial news stories.

  41. a says:

    I dont know about you but he is still the best player (pass that shit ives) on that national team period no other has his vision and technical abilitity. The ussf real f*(ked up we should have a least 5 donovans on the national team by now. It sucks to say it but we need him now more than ever.

  42. Turd Bradley says:

    Landycakes is a turd

  43. ATX_Colin says:

    Im thinking now that Robbie R has come out it has given LD some courage.

  44. YO says:

    Over? Did anybody say ‘over’? Nothing is over until Landon decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

  45. a says:

    awaiting moderartion WTF?

  46. Raymon says:

    If you need a license to catch a fish, I dont see why it would be unreasonable to require minimum logic/education standards before you can post your comments on the Interwebs. Just sayin.

  47. Peter says:

    Boy another article about LD. It may just be me but I am so sick and tired of hearing about his whinning!!! Is he really that weak mentally? I mean come on everyone has issues but to continue to cry about it!!! Lets compare him to Ronaldo. No he doesn’t have the talent of CR7, but Ronaldo lost his father at an early age, left home at an early age and has been hounded by the press constantly after every performance!!! After the 06 WC he was enemy no 1 in England, and he sucked it up and became the worlds best player. He is the Face of Portgual and has been of two of the largest clubs in the world!! His performances are dissected immensly for club and country yet he prevails!! He doesn’t get time off to clear his head! LD doesn’t get near as much pressure as CR7 or Rooney for that matter. He has it so easy compared to anyone else in the world!! How hard can being the face of a sport most of the country only thinks about every 4 years? To me he will always be the greatest player we have produced but lacked the ambition to become totally great!!! He doesn’t have the drive necessary for this. Look at the drive of clint Dempsey!! Imagine how great LD could have been if he had that ambition. Hell it would have been nice had he even took the DMB rounte. He gave it a shot in Europe more than Landon ever did. LD seemed to always quit when things got tough. The facts are Landon has produced some memorable moments for our country but really look at them how many of these moments have been against great teams. He always seemed to miss the “high profile friendlies” we had. His play against guatamala, Canada and brazil during the run of games last year was poor. Yet he’s supposed to be our savior now? The problem lies in that we lost to Honduras and everyone and all journalists think he is the answer. Maybe he was 4 years ago I just don’t think he is now. I say retire let us remember the moments and move on. If we qualify or don’t I don’t want it to because of one player.

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      I think there’s reason to think he’s still got something in the tank, and you’ll come to remember why the team is a cut above its current self with Cakes on the field.

  48. Joe says:

    As a psychologist, there is no evidence of any “psycho-analytical” stuff in any of this. The term is overused and misrepresented constantly. The reason I point this out its because I think Ives and his team care about the integrity of this blog enough to refrain from misusing this word in the future.

  49. Fredo says:

    I’m happy to hear that Landon plays soccer because he likes it. Go Galaxy!

  50. PGS says:

    Good article, Ives!

  51. Matt says:

    What could have been….thank goodness:
    He was touted…along with Beasley, as THE FUTURE of American soccer, but he easily could have “pulled a Freddy Adu” and been an underperforming player who believed his own hype and never really did anything.

  52. Weston John says:

    In looking at LD’s career on the national team, he will soon be the all-time cap leader and the founding member of the 50/50 club (50 goals and 50 assists). To put into perspective what an amazing accomplishment that is…how many players not named Landon Donovan are members of the 40/40 club?…zero…30/30?…zero…20/20?…zero….10/10? ok, there are a half dozen are so of those.

  53. andrew eppes says:

    When your identity is in created things like sport, marriage, money, fame rather than Creator at some point you will get burnt out. They will fail you. It may be a bad game, a broken marriage, a bunch of money in your bank account…not that Landon has all these…but these things wont truly fulfill you.

    Landon is still seeking his identity as a man. That is why he is headed to Cambodia. He is still searching. I pray that he finds that this journey is only satisfied by God.

    I know what you are saying this is just another guy trying to throw in some religious explanation but I just ask you to think about yourself…just for a minute. What is my identity in?

  54. ljkadflksdflk says:

    These excuses for Landon are ridiculous. When has Donovan ever really experienced true adversity? He was a kid from the suburbs with tremendous natural talent that he has literally rode his entire career. We can look just look to Dempsey to find another player who has faced much worse adversity and probably carries just as much emotional baggage from his childhood as Donovan. He grew up dirt poor in some backwater Texas town in the middle of nowhere. His sister died when he was a young and consequently he was able become a soccer player. How often do you think he questions wether he would rather have his career or the life of his sister? That is emotional baggage. So i’m sorry if i’m not at all impressed when Landon complains about his seven figure salary and celebrity status in he has in LA. I love Landon, but he needs to get his butt to work and stop acting like a spoiled child. Everybody gets tired and emotionally unstable, but most people aren’t able to take months off from work and take trips around the world. Also, the fans are the only reason he earns a salary so yes he actually owes literally his entire life. All his success is due to the money we spend to watch him play. The very least he can do is show up.

  55. PD says:

    I so wanted this journey to include a Peruvian shaman and a bucket of peyote…

  56. Jrl says:

    CORRECTION: Donovan IS THE BEST player on the national team!

  57. Johnathan says:

    If Donovan were black… this story would be being told differently… FACT

  58. bob says:

    When Donovan gets back in the summer the line up should be a 4-2-3-1

    ———————-Jozy————–
    Shea————-Deuce——-Donovan
    ————–Bradley—-Jones——-
    Johnson—Cameron–Gonzo–DOLO

    Hopefully Shea keeps getting PT at Stoke and DOLO comes back from the injury. This line up provides width and puts our best players on the field. It allows us to protect the back line and Bradley and jones can alternate on who goes forward.

  59. bob says:

    For the next 2 qualifiers the US should do a 4-2-3-1

    ——————-Jozy————————-
    Shea————Deuce————Gomez
    ————-Bradley—Jones—————
    Johnson–Cameron–Gonzo–Chandler

    This lineup protects the back line. Gets width and Gomez is not a natural winger but he does have a good work rate. Hopefully Shea can continue to get PT at Stoke.