Donovan to return to Galaxy in late March, will miss upcoming USMNT qualifiers

By IVES GALARCEP

Landon Donovan’ will rejoin the Los Angeles Galaxy in late March, the Galaxy announced on Sunday.

Donovan and the Galaxy reached an agreement to let Donovan extend his time away from the team, and now he won’t return to training until late March.

“After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his representative and our key club leaders, we have agreed to allow Landon to remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team during the final week of March,” Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena said in a team-issued statement. “We understand this arrangement is not ideal, but we are confident it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season. We remain focused on our preparation for the start of the 2013 season and look forward to Landon rejoining us next month.”

Donovan’s late return rules him out for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming March qualifiers vs. Costa Rica and Mexico, and will also force the Galaxy to start the 2013 season without him.

Donovan will miss the Galaxy’s first four MLS matches, as well as the team’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series vs. Costa Rican side Herediano.

While the news is good news for the Galaxy considering there was at least some fear that Donovan might retire altogether, the latest update is bad news for the U.S. national team, which could use his services for the upcoming qualifiers in March.

What do you think of tis development? Happy to hear he’s coming back to the Galaxy? Disappointed he won’t be back for the March qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS- LA Galaxy, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

167 Responses to Donovan to return to Galaxy in late March, will miss upcoming USMNT qualifiers

  1. RNG says:

    Did he say he will come back to the USMNT after that?

  2. Ryan says:

    Are other professional players allowed to do this? I mean without being fined or whatever?

    • chris says:

      Tons of players that have earned it get special treatment. Its respect from the club for all Donovan has done for the galaxy

    • elmatador says:

      after ALL that Landon has done for the USMNT and the LA Galaxy, he’s pretty much above the law. The Galaxy said “is not ideal” BUT it is Landon after all, and he’s def worth the wait

    • Dimidri says:

      I mean its in the best interest of the Galaxy to let him do this, the alternative is him taking a longer break (e.g. the entire season) or him not being entirely in it. Dude had some demons, let him exorcise them.

    • Old School says:

      Considering how much they bent over backwards for Beckham, who I do respect, I don’t have an issue with Galaxy doing the same for Donovan.

      Special players, get special treatment…as Jimmy Johnson used to say.

    • Brian S. says:

      Brett Favre did it for his final few years in Green Bay. I think teams understand that they would rather have a fully rejuvinated star for most of the season than a star that doesn’t have his heart in it for a full season. I hope Landon found that spark again and got all the rest he needed (and frankly deserved). The USMNT certainly could use him when he is ready.

    • THomas says:

      The alternative is for him to continually ‘retire’ then return. Doing it openly and honestly like this is much better.

    • GW says:

      We don’t know what is happening behind the scenes.

      What would you do? Force his hand? Tell him to show up on time or retire?

      Trade him to Chivas for Juan Agudelo?

      Cut him? He’d love that. If LA don’t want him someone will.

      He has all the cards.

    • Jack says:

      Does Donovan determine the success of the USMNT? Let’s look at the last 5 years…..

      With Donovan:
      Win 48%
      Loss 32%
      Draw 20%

      Without Donovan:
      Win 50%
      Loss 25%
      Draw 25%

      • Josh D says:

        Very interesting..

      • neilla says:

        The problem with those numbers is that Donovan (as well as the other top field players) are more likely to play in competitive matches, and games *without* Donovan are more likely to be non-competitive (ie, January friendlies; the Gold Cup in non-Confed Cup-qualifying years). It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      LA is looking at the big picture and saying 3/4 loaf better than no loaf. A player who did this for contract money or other reasons might be punished but this is seemingly above board, no leverage other than he wants unusual rest. Context matters.

      It’s worth reminding that LAG were dead in the water last spring without Gonzo and with Keane coming in and out. They then re-worked the team and got people back and shot up the table. I think they understand better than anyone (perhaps with Kinnear) that the goal is to be set for October.

  3. Gary Page says:

    Well, it’s better than if he retired. Hope he comes back into the USMNT for the June qualifiers (and Klinsmann has the sense to bring him back). He provides a much needed spark when he’s on his game.

  4. Hopper says:

    Wow. There’s gotta be more to this story. Either that or he’s just being a giant baby.

    Something’s bound to come out sooner or later.

    • Old School says:

      There’s not anything more to this story than what has been reported all along.

      Perhaps you haven’t been following or just recently heard of Donovan’s decision to take some time off/contemplate retirement?

      Welcome to old news.

      • Hopper says:

        “There’s not anything more to this story than what has been reported all along.”

        -I don’t think you’re close enough to the story or know enough about Donovan to say that.

        “Perhaps you haven’t been following or just recently heard of Donovan’s decision to take some time off/contemplate retirement?”

        -No. I’ve been keeping up with the story from the beginning. I just find this ongoing waffling from him to be a bit annoying, and I wish he’d make up his mind so people can move on one way or another.

        “Welcome to old news.”

        -Welcome yourself. You’re a snob. Speculating about players is part of what blogs like this are about. Go pump your ball up or something.

        • Old School says:

          “I don’t think you’re close enough to the story or know enough about Donovan to say that.”

          ,,,ugh, unless you’re name is Landon Donovan, I don’t think anyone can say that accurately.

          Sorry, Mel Gibson. There’s no conspiracy here but I won’t let that ruin your day or fun. Carry on…

    • Fred says:

      I agree that he’s being a baby. Frankly, I don’t really care about the Galaxy, but the USMNT really needs him right now. Sure he’s done a lot for US soccer, but on the other hand US soccer has given him everything. We’ve all got demons, but we suit up and show up anyway. Donovan has, arguably, more God-given talent than Dempsey or MB or Brian McBride. But he has much less grit and determination, and in my book that’s what make someone like Dempsey a true American hero. I have lost a lot of respect for him.

      • Sam the Eagle says:

        I fully agree, a professional soccer player who plays a game for a living is a true American hero.

      • Andrew says:

        Get over it. It’s a game of soccer. It’s his life and his career. Tell me how he’s ‘being a baby’ by taking some time off from his job and sorting out his personal life/demons?

        • Wendell Gee says:

          I think the resentment comes from some doubts that he truly appreciates how lucky he is to be able to dictate the terms of a leave of absence from his employer. Most of us, not matter how valuable we are to our employer and how well we do our jobs, could not dream of such a situation. In that regards, he’s very lucky.

          • GW says:

            There used to be this expression, “none of your business”.

            Respect for that concept was what used to make America a great place.

            It’s really none of anyone’s business here what LD wants to do with his life and career.

            • Soccertes says:

              On the contrary, it’s everyone’s – every fan’s – business. And not just because we pay their salaries and allow them to play a kid’s game for millions of dollars a year. When a professional sports star – or music star, actor, or politician for that matter – accepts the public notoriety that by the nature of their professions they seek (as it is synonymous with success in their respective crafts), they forfeit at least some of the traditional privacy that the rest of us enjoy as mere commoners. The benefits of public fame bring with them the inconveniences of a public window into what used to be your private life. Put simply, it’s the price of fame. Deal with it.

              • GW says:

                The people who pay him are dealing with it.

                And how they go about it is none of your business. You buy a ticket to see the Galaxy not LD.

                If you don’t like it don’t buy a ticket.

                As for the USMNT, they don’t pay Donovan. It is a private non -profit and does not have the standing of , for example, the US army.It’s not like selective service.

                This business is between LD, the Galaxy and, to a lesser extent, the USMNT. It appears he is in touch wth them.

                As for you, he owes you nothing.

      • APK says:

        “[L] ess grit and determination”? Really? Did you see that game in the 2006 World Cup against the champs, Italy? How about Donovan’s debut Cup play in Korea/Japan? Next to Reyna and Ramos he’s one the best players this country’s produced. To achieve that, thats grit, homey.

  5. DanO says:

    I can see it already: “Donovan comes to the rescue of struggling USMNT to right the qualifying ship…”

    I hope he does come back to the national team fold, but not as the savior/hero…

  6. A.S. says:

    Look, this is the result of all of the extra wear and tear on Donovan (mentally and physically) over the years. He hadn’t had a real extensive break from soccer for years and years.

    • Stephen says:

      I get two weeks off a year and have only gotten that much time off for my whole adult life. Apparently, I should have been a soccer star.

  7. super star says:

    Donovan has given 100% his whole career. He deserves some space and time.

    • Harry says:

      lol!!!!

    • Brain Guy says:

      Yeah, but how much? This is getting a little silly.

    • Wendell Gee says:

      But have other players earned this status? What about Dempsey? What about Howard?

      • Judging Amy says:

        Yes they have. Absolutely. So you’re telling me if Demps or Howard did the same thing you think US fans would be all like “eff you. don’t come back traitor”?

        LD (probably due to his personality) has generated a lot more controversial opinions in fans than players like Howard and Demps who are in different situations and are just different personalities. Demps was probably not supposed to be as good as he is, where LD was the savior from a young age. Demps’ game is paradoxically both prettier and grittier than Landons. Demps is quiet and seems interview shy, while LD is comparatively more open in interviews. LD gets a rep for not trying or playing with heart, but how many times has Demps drifted completely out of a game?

        For some reason the admittedly great Clint Dempsey gets seen as LD’s harder working, gritty, lionhearted foil. For me at least, they’re both great representatives of US soccer.

        • hoodink says:

          Donovan has a personality? I love the guy for what he has done for US Soccer, but he has to be one of the most boring interviews out there. Did you ever see that special with him and Rick Reilly? Painfully bad.

  8. bottlcaps says:

    Good for him. Good for the USMNT as he will most likely participate in SEVEN of the 10 qualifiers.

    The Galaxy will need him the most, though. It’s too bad he won’t be back for the CCL quarters, but I think the Galaxy, with Juninho and Keane, with Omar G. back playing well, will get by, but they will need him for the next CCL opponent, most likely a Mexican team.

    Welcome back LD!!

    • beto says:

      +1, as bruce said “its not ideal”, i would have used perfect, but it good news. I can’t wait to see a 110% LD this summer! …and I would much prefer it this way than to have him burning out and injured on and off after a decade of burning the candle on both ends. Glad he took the break, glad that the distraction is addressed and glad that it will be over soon.

  9. Hogatroge says:

    Anyone who expected Donovan to be in the March qualifiers was delusional.

    We can only hope Klinsmann uses a more logical formation for the players he brings in, and that he brings in some players who know how to play on the wings. It might be worth taking a risk on DMB, Shea, Gatt, and Pontius.

  10. Addage says:

    I have always wondered what kind of player you would have if you mixed the head and heart of a Dempsey or McBride with the very talented body of Donovan.

  11. BK says:

    If this break is what Landon needs to be in the right place and have some gas in the tank for 2014, then let him do it. Sure, we could use him right now. But we need him to be in a spot where he can peak next summer.

  12. 2tone says:

    If he comes back to the USMNT in June then he comes back. If he doesn’t then he doesn’t.

  13. Harry says:

    and this is why he has earned the name Landy Cakes.

    • David s. says:

      Yes, Harry, ’cause you’re the tough guy here. But after all you’ve done for US Soccer, it’s definitely time for you to take a break. Enjoy!

    • CG says:

      I guess the Pope is kind of a powder puff too then… or Michael Jordan… or Barry Sanders… or Robbie Rogers…

      • A says:

        Michael Jordan was kicked out of the NBA because he was gambling on games and they didn’t want to make a scene about it.

        Barry Sanders retired so he wouldn’t have to be a part of a franchise going nowhere and limiting his life. He didn’t drag on something like this, he just left.

        The Pope is mired in scandals involving the abuse of little children as part of the most corrupt institution on the planet.

        Robbie Rogers is dealing with something so monumental and externally-oriented that comparing it to a player “not having the heart” to play is insulting to what he’s going through.

        • CG says:

          What’s Landon dealing with? What’s Landon mired in? What doesn’t Landon want to be a part of? I have no idea. I’d venture a guess that Harry doesn’t either.

          My post was not meant to be, nor was it insulting to Robbie. I respect his decision for all the reasons that he’s made me – a fan – aware of for making them. I feel the same about Landon, and will continue as such unless he tells me that his motivation for taking a break was just to jerk around an admiring fan base. I guess I don’t see that particular announcement coming anytime soon.

        • NE Matt says:

          Barry Sanders also didn’t want to break Peyton’s rushing yds record. Then that douche Emmitt Smith went and broke it and thought he was the shizz for doing what Barry did – only it took him like 7 more years

          • Tommy says:

            A, this is not the time or the place to spew intolerant and close minded, anti-religious hate speech. Take it somewhere else.

            • A says:

              Look believe what you want, but it is an undeniable reality that the Catholic church is one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet mired in scandal after scandal for their own greed.

              That’s fact. It’s not anti-religious to point out reality.

              • super star says:

                it is a fact that you are espousing an opinion with you comments. And that is my opinion.

              • Tommy says:

                A, a soccer blog the wrong time and place to make accusations against the Church. There are many forums available for you to take your vague and unfounded statements.

        • David M says:

          You surely must’ve not been around the planet too much, have you?

      • Johnny says:

        Good argument.

    • Old School says:

      He’s “earned it” from coach potatoes like yourself.

      I don’t think he’s too concerned over your titles or lack of credibility.

  14. seruz says:

    No big Euro/BR/MX clubs came begging so he’s back to the Gals

  15. Iggy says:

    I wonder if he will take the captaincy back with the Galaxy when he returns? Would have to assume Keane takes it to start the season.

  16. Fredo says:

    Good News! I’m happy.

  17. The dog has papers says:

    Difficult to understand this. I think most people would feel inspired by how much the team needs him and would give a lot for the opportunity he is passing by.

  18. A.S. says:

    This is the direct result of going for years straight without more than a few weeks off. The Winter loans to Everton, all of the various USMNT camps and games and tournaments. It all adds up to physical and mental wear and tear. It was pretty clear to many of us that his continuing to play for years without any break was a mistake, and it is coming back to bite.

    I’m not a LAG fan, but I hope he comes back physically and mentally fit. Same for the MNT.

    • Wendell Gee says:

      Has he played more than, say, Dempsey? Not sure I get the oft said claim that he has played so much more than other high level professional soccer players (the 2, 2-month loans notwithstanding).

      • GW says:

        Since 1999 Donovan has played 528 professional matches and scored 209 goals. This includes US duty.

        Since 2004 Clint has played 433 professional matches and scored 125 goals. This includes US duty.

        • Lil' Zeke says:

          Hmm. And what of the last 2-3 years we’re actually talking about, Statsky Statskowitz?

          • GW says:

            LZ,

            You’re a smart guy. You know what you want and you have a computer.

            Give yourself the satisfaction of a job well done and look it up yourself.

    • Byrdman says:

      Exactly. All of these events were decisions he made. He didn’t want to take a risk again and go to Europe so he re-upped with the Galaxy 3 years ago and then started playing for Everton during the break. His decisions. But just like in normal life, usually others suffer from our bad decisions. He isn’t. He is getting the break he wants. He should have showed late to pre- season but be ready for first game. He selfishly left his teammates out to dry. You don’t do that to your teammates. No matter how good you are. Now he comes off as a prima Dona. None of his teammates can say anything because he is the star, but you know some guys are hating this. Really bad for the locker room. Selfish!

      • GW says:

        Unless you are there you have no idea what the Galaxy players think.

        • ljkadflksdflk says:

          Unless you are brain dead or live alone in a hole in the ground, it’s easy to understand how it feels to have the most important member of a group shirk duties he is payed four times as much as you are to do.

        • byrdman says:

          Ever been apart of a team? Not rec league, but a group of guys(or girls) who train, suffer, work, plan, prepare, win, lose, and hang out together? I have in a number of different settings. Nothing amazing or higher than college baseball, but a team becomes like family. Even the guys you don’t like, or want to be around. They are family. When one family member makes a selfish choice, it affects the entire team.

          I think those of us who have really laid it on the line at one time or another to see just how good we could be, might have a pretty good idea what the other players feel like.

          But maybe you are right, and I don’t know. Just an opinion.

          • GW says:

            You are assuming the Galaxy players feel it is a selfish choice.

            Where is your evidence that they do?

            Why should professional players see it your way?

            These pros know anyone can be gone at any time for any number of reasons.

            This is not a high school or college team. And they are not coached by a soccer mom.

            They may have a very different perspective from you. They probably have mixed emotions. On the one hand, the Galaxy players know if he does not come back they are in trouble. On the other hand, if Donovan retires it’s one more job opening for them.
            The big thing is they know the first part of the MLS season is meaningless anyway. Chances are they weren’t going to sweat it unless it had wound up going on a lot longer than March. And it did not so for them I’ll bet the whole thing is a non- issue.

            Pro athletes are very good at focusing on their own business and not getting too deep into other people’s personal issues with management. And they are good at letting things go and getting on with it.

            As for the USMNT, based on what I’ve read, the vets know Donovan pretty well so I doubt there is any issue and the newbies will defer to the legend, especially if JK does. And the German American contingent have seen far worse over there as has JK.

  19. Jacknut says:

    I guess we will get the whole story about this at the same time we learn the real reason for Michael Jordan’s first retirement from the NBA.

  20. Arkie says:

    I understand the argument for Donovan “earning” this privilege to do more or less what he wants. But at the same time, for a player I looked up to growing up, it’s hard not to be a little bit disappointed in his lack of commitment. No other US pro could pull this, and if any other player pulls it they become a Carlos Tevez, universally derided for their lack of commitment to the clubs that make them millionaires or they find themselves with a terminated contract. Imagine Dempsey, or Bradley, or any of these other pros who have a longer season in terms of games and higher competition and longer travel times for USMNT games told their respective clubs they needed a break? Or if they said no to USMNT call-ups? I think US fans would be baying for blood. And again, this says nothing for Landon’s legacy, just where he’s at now. If he comes back to the US fold it better be because he’s playing at the same high level as before, and not simply because he’s Donovan.

  21. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    Sadly, we don’t have anyone to replace Donovan, Donovan still remain USNT best player ever.

  22. A says:

    You don’t earn the privilege to do this. It is not a privilege to abandon your team.

    No player is above the team. Anywhere. Period. He should be chided for it.

    • chris says:

      If Chandler is able to walk into this “team” and Danny williams still starts than Donovan can do what ever the f*ck he wants

      • A says:

        What?

        How is an established veteran player leaving the team hanging the same as a guy getting playing time and a guy that wasn’t part of the team committing to the team?

        • chris says:

          Im saying Donovan doesnt owe sh!t to this team when hes given his all for 3 world cup cycles and 144 games and has played since he was 18. Hes put in more for this team than most have combined. I dont blame him for not rushing back when this backward@ss team has Chandler stepping right in the lineup for a huge game after he wouldnt commit for 3 years and Danny Williams still gets minutes while there are better options who arent German

          • Wendell Gee says:

            Everyone who puts on a US jersey owes the team “crap”. No exceptions. Even if Donovan were this kind of blend of Pele, Maradona and Messi that his most ardent supporters seem to think he is, he would still owe his national team his best.

            And trying to shoehorn your hatred of German-American players into the argument makes no sense.

            • GW says:

              Wendell Gee,

              You are correct. Donovan owes the US his best.

              That is why he stepped away. He’s burnt out and can’t give it his best anymore.

              It’s no different than being injured.

          • Byrdman says:

            Do you really not know any other words to use. My sons sometimes visit this site. Like Landon, I wish you would consider others, and the effect your words/ his actions have on them

        • beachbum says:

          leaving the team hanging? after starting more USMNT games than any other player ever? only Cobi has played in more of them. leaving the team hanging, that’s hilarious.

          time for others to step up and get it done. all the talk about moving on from Landon, and not being reliant on one player, and being able to do it with out him. well now’s the time

          • A says:

            He’s leaving the team hanging.

            His number of caps are irrelevant and have no part in the fact that he is now leaving the team hanging at a time when it needs him most.

            • beachbum says:

              we disagree, no matter how de facto your tone is

              and the TEAM needed him most for the past 3 World Cup cycles. This team was supposedly being built to move on without him, show that we weren’t reliant so heavily on one player, remember all the hype?

              and now all the griping. weak sauce

        • GW says:

          A,

          Let’s assume you are 1000% right.

          What do you Arena and JK to do about it? Do you want Arena and MLS to cut him? Landon would love that. As a man out of contract he can then sign outside the transfer window for any team, including Everton.

          Fine him? He wasn’t playing well before because he was unhappy. Now you want him even more unhappy?

          As for JK he managed Bayern Munich and played all over Europe. You’re a fool if you think he hasn’t seen and dealt with bigger prima donnas in his career.

          What Donovan did is nothing. He didn’t rape, kill or rob anyone. He didn’t sell drugs, drive drunk or molest kids.
          He was burnt out , which is the same as being injured, and he took care of it. Maybe you don’t believe burn out is real. Whatever.

          The question remains what do you suggest JK and Arena do?

    • NE Matt says:

      Dude he gave up his marriage – to a woman he still very much loves today – to US Soccer. I think he gets one pass.

    • beachbum says:

      hope by the time he comes back all of the other great USMNT players can handle the magnitude of the situation as well as LD has for the past 3 World Cup cycles

      btw, did you know if you added up the total points in USMNT games of McBride and Dempsey combined, Donovan still has more by himself? 49 goals, 48 assists

      predictable thread from the usual suspects. warm blanket. time for others to step up. we’ll see who does

    • A.S. says:

      Dumbest. Comment. Ever.

      Players decide to retire from their club or stop playing for a while all the time. They aren’t slaves. Brad Friedel decided to stop playing for the MNT when he was obviously one of the top US keepers. He should be “chided”? Really? Michael Jordan left the Bulls to play baseball. You “chiding” him?

      Give me a break.

      • Byrdman says:

        Disagree. Team is everything. France had plenty of talent but also plenty of selfishness. Blythe way I am very uncomfortable agreeing with A on anything. Lol

        • jerp says:

          which is better:

          a. donovan plays now when he is burnt out and not mentally sharp. he helps the team qualify, but this sacrifice hinders his long term contribution and ultimately leads to a subpar 2014

          b. donovan sacrifices the games now during a part of qualifying against teams that we should be able to handle without him and comes back better than ever and leads the team to a great 2014 Cup

          • Dimidri says:

            This.

          • byrdman says:

            After three months off, I don’t think Burnout can still be used. Personally i would image the Bianca remarriage thing is still kicking his butt. That is a hard one to get over. Only speculating from a far, but I remember his comment to her after the Algeria game, and just 9 months later she was married. OUCH.

            At this point, its more I want to do some other things. Well I’m sorry, I would like to play golf 4 days a week, and spend the other days alone with my wife. But I decided to have a family a while back, sooooo I need to work and spend time with my kids. It’s called responsibility and integrity.

            He made the choice to do the Everton thing back to back years. Good for him, but he should have counted the cost. He didn’t. He did what he wanted to do, and now he is doing what he wants to do.

            • jerp says:

              you speculating about what is keeping donovan away from the game is ridiculous. and what you want to do with your life is irrelevant to what landon donovan is doing with his. the important thing is that he rejuvenates now for the long distance.

              i am hopeful that he is doing just that. in a dream scenario, i could see him playing a role on the 2018 team. if it means him taking a few months off at this point in his career, i am all for it.

            • GW says:

              Byrdman,

              Do you remember why he did the Everton thing?

              He had had a bad 2006 World Cup and he saw the Everton thing as a way to test himself and prep him for the World Cup.

              You might have noticed it worked very well.

              The USMNT got a great World Cup out of him.
              .
              Remember that before you start referring to it as some selfish lark by Donovan.

      • Arty says:

        Friedel quit when it became obvious Keller was preferred and he was getting old. Still started the best wc of the modern era and was Kellers cover for 06. I don’t think anyone, friedel included, thought he would continue kicking so much ass. I do wonder what happens of we had him in the last wc squad given Howard’s rib injury he played through…

        • GW says:

          At the time, it was also mentioned that he felt the travel was hurting his club career. And given that he is still arguably the best American keeper on the planet, it’s hard to argue with his rationale.

  23. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    Donovan disapointed USNT fans and Galaxy.

  24. OldPuebloFC says:

    I’ve got nothing against Lando, but this is his JOB. Suck it up and play. If he needed the rest then he shouldn’t have signed on for those Everton loans. He got himself into this situation and is now putting himself above the Galaxy and the USMNT. For the record, I hope the Galaxy struggle (but that’s just because I can’t stand that team!)

    • super star says:

      next time you think about taking a day of vacation from work and say to yourself “i deserve this day off”, i want you to suck it up for your employer. they need you. they can’t go on without you and you don’t want to disappoint all of those people at work. you owe them everything and should not even think about yourself. you would be selfish if you stay home. so much depends on you and no one else can do it. everyone will have a bad opinion of you if you take off. Suck it up and go to work!

  25. wilyboy says:

    OK, this is what pisses me off. He’s definitely coming back for money, but he’s leaving the US out to dry? I’m well aware that Donovan needs his space, but this is getting ridiculous. Unless he’s retiring from the national team, his conduct is beginning to sound very selfish indeed, if a paycheck is the only thing he’ll commit to.

    • GW says:

      wilyboy,

      Do they pay you at your job?

      If so, how about you donate your salary to a worthy cause, something you can commit to?

      • wilyboy says:

        I’m sorry, the national team is a charity now? Cuz that’s the only sense I can make of your argument. The point is he’s not really debating whether or not to come back to soccer, so long as he gets paid for it. To me, his uncertainty about playing was the only thing I respected. Now he’s just looking greedy.

        You’re well aware he’d still get paid for his job if he played for the Nats, right? Then yours is the view that lacks perspective.

        • GW says:

          wily,

          Don’t be so defensive.

          Show me where Donovan said he was not coming back to the Nats?

          I want the exact quote.

  26. Mike R says:

    If he comes back refreshed and committed so be it

  27. Javier says:

    I’ve been a big Landon Donovan since I first started seeing him play. Personally I think he’s arguably the best American player today and possibly one of the best ever to play for the U.S.. That said he’s never really proved himself in Europe against the best players in the world. The two short loans he did to Everton showed he could play and I believe Everton is a better team with him than without him, but he never played long enough in Europe to prove anything. In that regard Clint Dempsey and Micheal Bradley are arguably to next two best players and I might even rate Dempsey above Donovan because he’s played in Europe longer and he regularly starts in a top 4 team in the BPL.

    And there’s no doubt Donovan has proven his worth to the USMNT. He is obviously needed. The U.S. looked absolutely terrible against Honduras and if they play like that against Costa Rica or Mexico we’ll need to find another team to cheer for in Brazil in 2014. I’m sure Donovan would really make a difference if he were called back to the USMNT.

    I also believe you have to take the man at his word and if he’s reached the point where he’s so exhausted he needs a break until late March than I think the rest of us need to accept that. Bruce Arena who has coached him for years in MLS and the national team seems to agree and is willing to allow him to take his break.

    I just doubt that if he were playing in one of the top leagues in Europe he would have been allowed such an extended break. I don’t know. Maybe if he had done as much for one of the leagues there as he’s done for MLS, or for one of their national teams as he’s done for the USMNT he might have been allowed to take the extended break.

    I guess the alternative for him as someone else commented would have been for him to have retired from MLS and the USMNT. Maybe now both get a player that is recharged and back in form playing some of the best soccer he’s played in years. As a soccer fan that’s what I’m hoping for.

  28. Ty says:

    I have no idea why Landon always gets trashed. Dude is the best player to ever play for USA.

    People also need to realize he started playing professionally at 16. He is now 30 and just like everyone at their job he is probably just burnt out. Realize this is his job not just a sport.

    • Wendell Gee says:

      Most of us, no matter how well we do our jobs, don’t get to dictate the terms of a leave of absence. I would hope he appreciates how lucky he is in that regard.

      And yes, he’s been professional soccer player since he was 16. So have many others.

      • GW says:

        Wendell,

        You make my case for me.

        Donovan isn’t like most of us. He never has been.

        You know the saying about walking a mile in man’s shoes? Most of us aren’t good enough to play in three World Cups and star in two of them. Are you? Do you think most of us know what that is like?
        How many pro US soccer players are there? A couple of thousand? Or a couple of hundred?

        Whatever the number, is it fair to rank Donovan in the top ten just to be conservative?

        What do you do for a living ? Whatever it is are you one of the top five best American individuals in your profession? How about top ten best Americans in your profession in the world?

        And if you were don’t you think you would be treated just a bit different from the rest?

        I’m not talking ideally, I’m talking about the real world.

    • MiamiAl says:

      I’m with Wendell. Donovan needs to wise up and get a clue. The guy has maybe 5 years left to make possibly some big money. Suck it up and go do your job for the next 5 years! Then you can retire at 35-40 as a young man with so many more millions towards your retirement! Go contemplate your life when you are old man in a rocking chair, not at age 30!!! Gimme a break…The guy needs to come back to reality…

  29. Quitetheschemer says:

    Cool he’s coming back. The US team is garbage without him. The team needs him to qualify for 2014 whether he is a prima donna or not. All of these euro based players that are supposedly so great couldnt beat Honduras. For all the brouhaha surrounding Timmy Chandler and the other German/American’s, he looked awful in his debut. I don’t care if they were playing on concrete, the fact is, they couldnt get it done.

  30. MikeG says:

    Donovan was the oil that made the Bradley ‘empty bucket’ formation move. Bradley did get results in the WC, Confederations Cup, Gold cup, and some friendlies. Bradley got the most out of our players: solid defense, fast counter attack, and decent team speed. We had the players to fill the empty bucket, but Bradley was too reluctant to make changes to a formation. So, Sunil made a change with Klinnsman. As far as I can see Klinnsman has over filled the DM bucket with limited attempts at filling the main empty bucket. A lot of our choices at the #10 position behind the forwards have been younger players and Dempsey. Dempsey has done a good job. With Donovan now having a forecast I say let’s fill the empty bucket with Donovan at the #10 position with the USMNT. Let Donovan make runs into the midfield and work with Altidore and Dempsey as forwards. Let’s light the Hexagonal on fire.

  31. rorschach says:

    and that’s why we call him landycakes.

  32. Travis is Miami says:

    LD – take your time man. Get you head and body right for another run at MLS cup, CL, the end of the Hex and finally WC ’14. You’ve been playing non-stop. Take the break and come back 100%.

  33. Norn Iron says:

    Sure, this is not great news for the MNT, as the upcoming matches against Costa Rica and Mexico are even more important than they already were due to the egg we laid in Honduras. However, the MNT cannot be so one dimensional as to rely on Donovan as heavily as they have in the past. Guys like Dempsey, Bradley, Johnson, and Altidore need to step it up and play to their potential WHEN IT MATTERS.

  34. Drew says:

    Donovan on Beckham 2009:
    Yeah. If someone’s paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you’re suspended or not.

    “Show up and train hard. Show up and play hard. Maybe he’s not a leader, maybe he’s not a captain. Fair enough. But at a minimum you should bust your ass every day. That hasn’t happened. And I don’t think that’s too much for us to expect. Especially when he’s brought all this on us.”

    Thought Donovan was ridiculous when he said this then, no seems more so. Atleast beckham was away from the galaxy playing at Milan.

  35. EastBayGrease says:

    Donovan is the best player to ever where the Nats uniform, but is he actually playing more games than a top European player that is playing in domestic league, domestic cup, world cup qualifying, and Euro Qualifying? Every South American player competing in Europe has to fly across the Atlantic for every national training camp, not to mention the fact that they are leaving behind their family, friends, and entire culture. Donovan is essentially playing in his home town.

  36. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    What about the Galaxy? It’s important MLS start winning CONCACAF Champions League!! With such crappy salary cap, Galaxy needs put Donovan in his place.

  37. Don Pelayo says:

    I sure wish I could decide to take a couple of months off from my career to “recharge.”

    Considering how much the USMNT needs a player like him for March, I find this unacceptable and selfish from Donovan.

    • super star says:

      If you were any good at your job (like Donovan is) maybe you could take some time off and be assured a place when you come back. Maybe you don’t work hard enough to make yourself valuable to your employer?

    • GW says:

      Are you exceptional at your job?

      Do you have any leverage with your employers in the sense that they would have a lot of trouble if you were not up to par?

      Are you nearly irreplaceable?

      If the answer to these questions is yes then you maybe you should talk to your boss about that vacation.

  38. Daniel says:

    Biggest baby. Best American player.

  39. shaggie96 says:

    I know this is probably silly, but why the end of March? It’s not like somebody knows exactly how much time they need to recharge the batteries. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the Mexico qualifier. Maybe he doesn’t want to play down there again?

    • Benny Dargle says:

      It’s pretty clear that if he came back anytime before the end of March there would be significant pressure on him to rush back to form so he could play both in the WC qualifiers and in the Galaxy’s CCL quarterfinal round. By setting the return to training as the end of March, he avoids that entirely. He won’t appear in real games until he is really back to form and he will be able to stay with the Galaxy for the entirety of his “preseason” training period. That reduces the risk of injury.

  40. Sandtrout says:

    I’m as disappointed as most US fans that Donovan is wavering this early in his career. But I try to keep this point in mind: He owes us nothing.

  41. Brain Guy says:

    The question is not whether LD owes us anything. It is whether he owes his employer and his national team coach and teammates his commitment and a straight answer. He strung both of them along for months and decided not to be there when both teams needed him. No, he doesn’t owe us anything. But neither are we obligated to sit back and pretend nothing happened. “Give him his space and time” sounds great, but it has its limits. What if he took the whole year off? Assuming the US qualified, should JK them welcome him back?

    • sandtrout says:

      It’s a free country. I don’t even think he owes his employer anything. They can easily make a financial arrangement for him to leave now. If they want to hang around and wait for his decision, that’s their choice. He has helped them win 2 consecutive championships after all. As to the national team, it’s obvious they need to move past him. He certainly doesn’t owe the national team anything, and the national team is going to have to learn to live without him eventually. Too bad it happened this soon, but c’est la vie.

  42. Chris says:

    Landon was blessed with talent and he’s continually taken the easy way out..and hurt the US team in the process. Special players don’t require special rules and the ding dong that said that doesn’t understand the importance of team chemistry, leadership or the need for players on top to set an example for the rest of their teams to follow.

    • Doasisay says:

      +1/repped/here here

      You want your studs to have a certain kind of mentality (see Bob Bradley) that I don’t think LD would even recognize.

    • GW says:

      He’s setting a great example.

      If you can’t give 100% then you don’t belong on that field.

      Donovan questions his own committment , so he is removing himself from consideration.

      I would not want someone playing next to me who is not 100% committed.

  43. Robbie says:

    I think LD is playing us all. Other players can step in and get needed experience in some of the early qualifiers, landon comes back for the 2nd half of qualifiers and we’re that much better.

  44. Doasisay says:

    Count me as someone who doesn’t understand why at this point Klinsmann would even consider Donovan as an option if he were to want to come back. The bottom line is that Landon has made a choice to not play for the USMNT during crucial Hexagonal qualifiers. I don’t begrudge him that decision; it is very personal and I’m sure he has good reasons. That said, from all reports, this was a discretionary absence, and I don’t know how a coach would tolerate any member of his/her team abandoning the “team.” It is tantamount to betrayal. This is one perspective.

    The other perspective is that I think that US Soccer needs to commit to grooming youth in the USMNT pipeline and moving beyond the dependency on Donovan. To the extent that playing LD would inherently curtail the exposure of other young nationals to high-stakes international soccer, I would advocate for making a clean break and taking our lumps now while giving the younger generation invaluable opportunities.

    • GW says:

      Doasisay,

      Are you in the locker room with the USMNT? No? Then you don’t know anything about how they are taking this or what the managers think of LD’s so called “betrayal”.

      But you know who does? The manager .

      If he wants to cut this off right now then fine , he’s in the best position to judge. JK has played with and managed many prima donnas, many of whom were/ are far worse than Donovan.

      This is a big deal only because LD is the biggest American star but JK has been prepping for this for some time now. I have no doubt he had a pretty good idea of the time frame of Donovan’s decision. It wasn’t going to go on forever. Besides as far as JK is concerned it’s no different from a player coming back from injury. He’s been looking for replacements for some time now.

      And remember how it went when Bradley was looking to replace Davies? Well this search is going worse.

      If Donovan comes back rested, healthy in form and committed, then nothing else could do more in one move for the USMNT.

      Because not qualifying for the World Cup will do incalculable damage to the game here and Donovan can make qualifying a lot easier.

      Are you familiar with the expression cutting off your nose to spite your face? That is what most of you want to do and what JK sees no reason to do at this point.

      For 2.5 million I expect JK to handle a little “betrayal”.

      • Doasisay says:

        I disagree with both of the points I think you are making. It is not “so-called betrayal.” It is the dictionary definition of betrayal. Secondly, I reject the premise that Landon Donovan at 30 and 31 is what will carry us through world cup qualification and beyond. If the USMNT can’t qualify for the world cup without Landon Donovan, then there are much bigger issues then even the most ardent of skeptics would have believed. I think that it is time that the USMNT pivot to the future and chart a course forward without Landon Donovan.

  45. Applequist says:

    I’m scared. At least two more games without Landy. The USMNT could be facing a hole so deep that it will be impossible to escape.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      Yeah, I think it is going to be extremely ugly prior to the June Panama home game…probably a must win…I’ll put the rose colored glasses on and say we win 3-1 with stellar efforts from LD and Holden….haha

  46. chris_thebassplayer says:

    I’m assuming he’ll play for the nats again…It would be nice to actually hear him say he intends to do so.

  47. ljkadflksdflk says:

    I’m sorry but if your earning 7 figures you better get your butt to work. I love landon, but I just don’t get the part where I am supposed to feel bad for him. People are talking about how much he’s given the past decade, but so does every professional athlete and most do so with much more pressure and expectation. Landon is still a soccer player in the United States, where other soccer players come to get away from the pressure. If any NFL player did this there would be hell to pay and they certainly play on a bigger stage in a much more physically demanding sport. He chose this profession and a big reason for his large paycheck in mls is due to his national team play so unless he starts giving his paycheck back to the galaxy for the missed preseason and games then Im going to remain a little angry.

    • Soccertes says:

      I agree. I’m tired of hearing the “Landon doesn’t owe you anything” mantra. Yes, he does. Just as every pro athlete who makes millions of dollars of fans’ money to play a child’s game for a living does. That’s not jealousy or bitterness. We buy tickets and jerseys and watch them on TV. We simply expect them to return our significant emotional and financial support – support that allows them the extraordinary privilege of playing a kid’s game for a living, often for more money in one year than most of us will make in our lifetimes – with a demonstrated desire to give something back. That something is a commitment to their craft – playing the game we’ve bestowed the privilege on them to play. In a very real sense, we are responsible for these players’ existence. We are justified in having high expectations for how they approach their careers.

  48. ed - houston says:

    IT appears to be a half-hearted attempt at rest. IF he really wanted to rest he would have came back 01 01 2014 and taken this whole year off.

  49. biff says:

    I still think there is more to this story than Donovan simply recharging his batteries. I think a key moment was the Mexico friendly last August when Bocanegra did not show up and Klinsmann gave the captain’s armband to Howard instead of to Donovan, who, I think, deserved it. and still does. Klinsmann needs to swallow his German pride and correct past mistakes and convince America’s greatest player to return to the USMNT and name him captain with Timmy Howard his deputy captain. Donovan deserves one more World Cup and we need Donovan back on the team.

    • Rowsdower says:

      Still blaming JK…. He is so upset with JK that he is missing the first month of the Galaxy’s season plus what ever it takes to knock off the rust. Makes sense to me.

  50. Soccertes says:

    If there really is “more to this story” as many have speculated – and I’m not convinced there is – I think it’s more likely Landon is contemplating his own Robbie Rogers-type announcement. If so and he resumed playing, how great it would be for the sport (and professional sports in general). That said, I don’t think this is the case. But I do think it’s the most likely of the “something else is up” scenarios. Just sayin.’

  51. Helium-3 says:

    When is Frank Lampard going to sign?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Probably this summer, if at all. I think pre-signings are disruptive for the team losing the player. The fairest thing to CFC and its fans would be to play out his deal and see how the season finishes up. Once the EPL finish is pretty set, announce his move with a few weeks left so the fans can pay tribute. Like Nelsen did.

      I think the Beckham approach is tacky. Being open about how I’m signing early for team y but finishing the season with team x makes it all feel mercenary for both sides. I think it also is risky for team y because they can, as with Beckham, be signing a player who’s hurt by the time he arrives. You’ve then set up a whole hype machine the player can’t deliver on. Beckham did eventually achieve some MLS success but the disconnect between the hype and his initial physical state meant that the marketing was out of phase with his actual play. By the time he was part of a good team the interest level and marketing had faded. You might be better off hyping the player once he’s there and healthy.

      And then if Lampard doesn’t sign I’ll be interested to see if Gonzo gets the DP spot and the money. Or if they move to Kaka or another attacker.

  52. The Imperative Voice says:

    Since he is returning to soccer, and did not officially retire from international soccer, the door is open a smidge. But he committed himself to nothing internationally. So we’ll see. Time being they need to work on their wing players because even if he comes back to the USA at his age the clock is ticking. You don’t want to replicate the transitional issues at back for the USA, where the O30s age issues are hitting us at the worst time.

    • GW says:

      Age issues are irrelevant at this point.

      The US needs about 18 months out of him, less if you are only worried about qualifying.

      If he can’t do that then he may as well stay out.

  53. Texas Hammer says:

    Sh*t or get off the pot Landycakes. Has he worked long and hard? Sure. I’ll give credit where credit is due. However Donovan never reached his full potential, and it’s because he didn’t want to venture too far out of his comfort zone. Yes, I’m not a professional soccer player, but let’s face it, he’s a bit soft.

  54. Charles says:

    This guy goes to work for a new company, we will call X. The first week on the job he tells them he has a vacation planned that same month. The boss asks who said you could go on vacation so quickly. His answer, Company Y.