Donovan signs multi-year contract with Galaxy

LandonDonovanLAGalaxy1-RealSaltLake (AP)

By DAN KARELL

Arguably the greatest player in the history of Major League Soccer isn’t leaving the league any time soon.

The Los Angeles Galaxy announced on Wednesday afternoon that midfielder Landon Donovan has signed a new multi-year contract with the club, meaning that all three of the Galaxy’s designated players are locked-in to long-term deals. As per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Donovan’s most recent deal was set to expire at the end of this season.

“I’m very fortunate to be able to play for fantastic fans, for a wonderful organization, in front of my family, and this is the place I want to end my career,” Donovan said at a press conference this afternoon. “I’ve always wanted to be here and I’ve always wanted to play here. When other opportunities arose, they paled in comparison to being here.”

The 31-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team veteran is currently in his 13th season in MLS, the last nine of which have been with the Galaxy. During his time in the league, Donovan has won five MLS Cups (three with the Galaxy, two with the San Jose Earthquakes), two Supporters Shield titles, one U.S. Open Cup, and one MVP award.

Earlier this month, Donovan had made news by admitting that he and his representatives had received offers from abroad and that he was considering them. However, a Sports Illustrated report on Tuesday broke the news that Donovan had decided to remain with his hometown club.

“We have what we think is the full package and we’re really thrilled that Landon will complete a contract here and hopefully win more championships with the Galaxy,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.

Donovan infamously took a sabbatical after the conclusion of last season, not returning to the Galaxy until the end of March, already a month into the season. However, the time away from the game did wonders for Donovan, who said he found his passion for the game again while he was gone.

On August 15, the Galaxy signed defender Omar Gonzalez to a designated player contract, making him the first American defender to ever earn that distinction. Last January, the club also signed Robbie Keane, their other designated player, to a multi-year contract. The signing of Donovan represents a moment where for the first time in MLS history, a team has three designated players signed for multiple years at the same time.

“We believe that with our three designated players we have the best core in MLS,” Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG said at the press conference. “With Landon, we have the greatest American soccer player to ever play the game and the best American player in MLS today. With Robbie Keane we have what we think is the best international player (in the league), and with Omar (Gonzalez) we feel we have the best defender in the league.

“If we could have any three DPs in the league, these are the three that we would want, and they give us the opportunity to compete and win the cup every year.”

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What do you think of this news? Happy to see Donovan remain at the club? Did you expect him to resign? Impressed with the Galaxy’s front office?

Share your thoughts below.

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75 Responses to Donovan signs multi-year contract with Galaxy

  1. bryan says:

    really curious to see what the terms of the contract are.

  2. Brian S. says:

    I find it baffling that he only has 1 MVP award.

    • i says:

      I find it baffling that he’s on the roster for nearly ever MLS all star match. He’s good but he didn’t have a fantastic season every damn year. but the vote’s rigged more than the Presidential huh

  3. trickhog says:

    I have no problem with this article other than that first word — “arguably”.

    • SoundersOff says:

      I agree, but probably not how you mean it. I cannot think of a context in which Landon Donovan is the greatest anything in MLS history.

      If we’re talking contribution to a team, he doesn’t really come close.

      If we’re talking skill, we’re again not even close.

      • Limey says:

        Take your green glasses off, it will make sense then.

        • SoundersOff says:

          Players I’d put above him in terms of skill.

          Valederrama.
          Blanco.
          Etcheverry.
          Beckham.
          Henry.
          Keane.
          Valeri.
          Moreno.

          I could find more.

          • James says:

            If you’re arguing of who was “greatest” at their peak of this group, then yeah, some of these guys were truly world class (although I’d argue with several).

            If you’re arguing who was “greatest” while in MLS? Donovan has a pretty convincing argument to be near, if not at, the top of the list

          • Mason says:

            Cuauhtémoc Blanco looked like he was going to have a heart attack for most of his time in MLS.

          • Limey says:

            The argument is ‘greatest’ not most skillful.

          • Silversurfer says:

            Are we talking prettiest player or most successful because if you’re talking most successful in the MLS, Donovan goes top. It’s like arguing that Alex Rodriguez has had a better career that Derek Jeter or that Dan Marino was a better quarterback than Joe Montana. Easiest way to put it is, talk to the rings.

  4. Bearded Soccer says:

    Not surprising at all. I hope he and Dempsey go on loan in the winter.

  5. SoundersOff says:

    So where was that league policy hiding contract terms with Seattle and Clint Dempsey? League was all over the place like LOOK WHAT WE GOT GUYS! LOOK HOW MUCH WE CARE AND SPENT!!!!!!!

    And now back to following the actual rules.

    • patrick says:

      can’t help leaks, with the blockbuster nature of dempsey coming back to MLS (and how fast it developed) the financials were a key part of the story: WHy would he come back now? was there a transfer fee?. With Donovan simply extending his contract, it’s not so important to the story.

    • TimbersGary says:

      The league didn’t disclose the Dempsey info. It was leaked. I’d like to know the terms of Donovan’s contract; it’d be very interesting in light of the Dempsey deal. Unfortunately a contract of this nature has far fewer people involved, and thus fewer opportunities for a leak.

  6. i says:

    thought he was gonna play at AC MILAN? damn you Dan Rather

  7. SoundersOff says:

    I’m confused about this “greatest” business. I think we can all agree that Donovan is a great player and one of the best to ever play in MLS.

    But greatest in history? He couldn’t shine the shoes of Carlos Valderrama.

    • Limey says:

      I’m not sure if that is just opinion or based on fact, here are the stats.
      Games Goals G/Game Assists A/Game Points Y R
      Donavon 297 131 0.44 115 0.39 377 44 0
      Valderrama 175 16 0.09 114 0.65 146 16 6

      • SoundersOff says:

        Carlos Valderrama is considered one of the top 100 greatest football players in the history of the game.

        Landon Donovan never even broke the 200 mark of active top players.

        • Mason says:

          Carlo Valderrama was 35 when he came to MLS.

          He was very good, but not great.

        • Limey says:

          Read the headline again, greatest player in the history of Major League Soccer” not greatest player.

        • slowleftarm says:

          The criteria has to be how good they were when they were in MLS. Henry at his peak was better than anyone that ever played in MLS, maybe the best player in the world from 2002-2006 or so.

        • Limey says:

          BTW, he was on a list of the 100 best living players, not the 100 best.

      • bml says:

        Plus Donovan is still playing.

  8. i says:

    Donovan is easily the greatest American player in MLS and maybe top 5 overall when it comes to importance. But Beckham is probably still higher. Though have to ponder why didn’t Donovan ever return to Germany? Sure 2 short loans in England but i’m thinking he could have achieved a title in 1 of the top 5 leagues had he given a full transfer. just me maybe

    but why is he getting paid more than Dempsey?

    • Mason says:

      Because he’s a better player?

    • Ian says:

      It comes down to what Landon values most. Evidently, he values playing in his home country more. And why is he getting paid more than Dempsey? I’d argue Donovan is an all-around better player than Dempsey, if not a better forward.

  9. biff says:

    I’m gonna be rationale today: No Comment :-)

  10. Limey says:

    “Arguably the greatest player in the history of Major League Soccer”. OK let’s come up with some criteria, loyalty, goals scored, assists, appearances.. what else would contribute to being the greatest player? Let’s try to create some meaningful criteria and then debate the results.

    • Shake says:

      You know how you objectively evaluate loyalty? Caps. Which Donovan has a ton of. That and the most goals and assists by a wide wide wide margin. Dempsey will not ever come close, and Altidore will probably surpass the goal tally, but wont get half the assists.

  11. Dc says:

    Same as it ever was.

  12. Nico C. says:

    LANDYCAKES (n.) 1. A person with little or soft ambition but great skill 2. Usually stays within the California area with fear to challenge him/her self.

    Origin – American English: Landon Donovan, #10 for Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS
    English: Cakes, a soft pastry consisting of eggs, flour, yeast, and others

  13. Tony in Quakeland says:

    At some point int he future when he isn’t playing any more, people will recognize how great he was and how much he has done for American soccer. But until the, we’re going to have to listen to a lot of whining nonsnense.

    • danny says:

      He’ll be remembered as:
      1) the first American player that had the talent to become a world class superstar, but he DIDN’T because… debate ensues (most likely answer: headcase).
      2) A great, solid US NATs player with flashes of brilliance (at some big moments).

      No one is going to look back and say he saved MLS or did some big sacrifice to promote US Soccer. That’s B.S.

      • Yevgeniy says:

        No 1 player can save MLS or US Soccer, but he has done more than the next 3 combined. Hard to argue against it!

        • danny says:

          I disagree. David Beckham did more to promote MLS soccer than Donovan. Promotion is not about appealing to the most hardcore fans… its about expansion. The owners of Seattle might end up being the most influential in the promotion of MLS.

      • Ryan says:

        Great, solid MNT player? Or maybe the all time leading scorer and assist leader, and the greatest MNT player to date. Probably the latter.

    • slowleftarm says:

      He’s the greatest American soccer player of all-time. That’s how I’ll remember him.

  14. Jack says:

    this is why he is Landycakes

    no ambition

    • Marburg says:

      Him and Dempseycakes should bring back Tasty cakes.

    • Ian says:

      No ambition? Become the leading scorer in US Soccer history, earn a boatload of cash, play a game he loves in his hometown in front of fans who adore him. Sounds ideal to me.

      • Jack says:

        no ambition at the club level because of a fear or failure. It’s obvious to anyone who isn’t blinded by reality.

      • N-Whir says:

        No one is saying he doesn’t have talent or that he hasn’t accomplished much. But you can’t say that he hasn’t lacked the desire to compete against the best competition on a daily basis. Most players strive to play in the most competitive leagues in the world. On the other hand, LD has simply strived to remain in an environment where he is “comfortable.”

  15. BOYD says:

    What else was he supposed to do? He never had the balls to leave his comfort zone and he’s not about to start at the end of his career.
    He knows that no matter how badly he plays he’ll always be a starter in LA.

  16. Javier says:

    I think anyone that says Landon Donovan is the greatest American player of all time needs to add “arguably” and that needs to be qualified with an asterisk. The records that Donovan holds in MLS are in a mediocre/second tier league, against mediocre/second tier players. It has to be admitted that MLS is not one of the top leagues in the world and the majority of the players here with a few exceptions (Keane, Henry) are not or have not been world class players. While MLS has improved considerably since its inception it still cannot be considered a top league.

    Donovan has never really been challenged in MLS. He was never going to be benched for having a bad game, or a bad week of practice. No one was ever going to push to take away his position. He doesn’t get pulled from matches when he disappears in games for long periods or is completely ineffective. He’s had it easy in MLS. As much as some people would like to believe MLS is a great league it’s not. The quality of play in MLS does not compare to the top leagues in the world and in this subpar environment is where Donovan has set his records.

    For Donovan to be truly called the greatest American player he needed to face the best players in the world week in and week out. He needed to be challenged every single day to bring his game up. He needed the scoring and assist records against top notch players on a regular basis and he needed to be doing that for years. He needed to make a difference on a team that played against some of the best players in the world on a weekly basis. Because he never did that, he never challenged himself like Clint Dempsey and made a difference for a team in one of the top leagues in the world like Clint Dempsey did for Fulham in the BPL then Donovan’s accomplishments in MLS are not sufficient to consider him the one greatest American players. And the two short loan spells in Everton don’t really mean anything. He played great when he was there. He should have stayed there. But he refused to challenge himself and came home to where he was comfortable. Like a home sick little boy running back home. Even JK has challenged players to leave MLS and play in the top leagues against the type of players they will face in the world cup. And instead Donovan chose to once again stay within his comfort zone and not be challenged.

    Because Donovan has taken the easy road, and has refused to challenge himself. He will never truly be considered one of the greatest American soccer players. Has he played well for the USMNT yes, but he’s also had some terrible games and disappeared a lot. Does he have great skill? Yes, but he’s only shown brief flashes of that skill. If JK had chosen not to bring him back would the USMNT still be playing good soccer and winning? It seems the team has answered that question with a Yes.

    Donovan had the chance many times to prove he was so much better a player but he repeatedly chose the easy way out. At best maybe it’s best to think of Donovan as an excellent player that found comfort in a mediocre league.

    • John F says:

      Eurosnobbery, albeit well stated. But you forget two Important points: first, what American player has done what you claim to be the criteria for greatness? And second, how can you ignore what he has achieved playing for the national team? No one comes close on that front.

      • Jack says:

        how is that Eurosnobbery?

        Landon has been a legend for the national team but his club career has lacked ambition. Do you disagree or agree with that statement?

        • alocksley says:

          Ambition is overrated. There are other ways of challenging yourself, like being the undisputed leader of a team and taking the responsibility to carry it when it is needed.

        • John F says:

          That’s still Eurosnobbery. You assume there is only one form of ambition in soccer. That is patently untrue. Unless you know what goals Landon has set for himself, you have no way to judge his ambition. And that still doesn’t address his national team success.

    • alocksley says:

      Get over it, eurosnob. There is no asterix needed. Even if you didn’t include his club resume and only focused on his international career, he’s easily the best American player. 56 goals for his country, including 5 in the World Cup. The all-time leading scorer in his region’s championship. He has carried the US on his back through critical stretches of qualifying, through numerous tournaments. Your argument is just plain dumb.

    • Bob Saget says:

      This analysis is one big whiff. The quality of opposition that Donovan has faced does not mean he is not the best American to ever play. Whether he is the best American player depends on his skill level and accomplishments compared to other American players. You only mention one other player in this rambling mess of a comment, which could be cut down to one sentence: “Donovan hasn’t faced stiff opposition in MLS, a second-tier league, and thus is not the best American player.” Your conclusion is not a reasonable one to draw based on your comments. You should be comparing the players. Information about the leagues they have played in would be used to support conclusions about their skill levels and accomplishments. You would then compare players based on those conclusions.

      D+. Please try again.

  17. alocksley says:

    So glad to see great American players staying home and raising the level of the domestic league. Donovan obviously plays best when he’s comfortable, and he’s comfortable in LA (and playing GREAT). he will be in mid-season form come the world cup – this is ideal.