Breaking News:

Keep up with So Much Sports on Twitter @SoMuchSports

Donovan nearing much-deserved swan song

The best American soccer player ever had plenty of opportunities to play overseas but stayed in the MLS and made soccer a relevant sport in American while becoming a household name to even just casual fans.

The best American soccer player ever had plenty of opportunities to play overseas but stayed in the MLS and made soccer a relevant sport in American while becoming a household name to even just casual fans.

Even despite not being on the 2014 World Cup team Landon Donovan is still the face of American soccer. He is the name you think about, he is the player you picture in your mind. The scene of him ripping a shot so hard into the top of the goal against Slovenia the opposing goalkeeper ducked out of the way for fear of being decapitated, then running down the field with his team having being given new life.

Donovan has carried USA soccer to greatness and notoriety even when he was not on the team. He has helped make soccer a part of people’s lives almost as much as football or basketball if. He’s made Americans like soccer because of his captivating intensity and and talent.

On Friday the end of that begins. Donovan will be given his swan song with the nations team when the US takes on Ecuador in East Hartford, Conn, his final match for team USA.

The 32-year-old, who has been playing professional soccer for 15 years now, announced his retirement from soccer at the end of of the 2014 MLS season and set this game up to be his last so he could go play in front of an American crowd in his final appearance.

It would have been nice to see Donovan play one more time with Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey, along with some other guys who were there with him as US soccer ascended to prominence, but this one is going to be all about Donovan. He’ll be leading the way for a squad full of the next generation, young guys like Alejandro Bedoya, DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green, showing them what it takes to be the beloved face of the squad.

It will be his day and no one else’s.

In 2000 Donovan was first called up to the senior team to play in the Olympics. When that happened he was unnoticed. Nobody knew they were watching the very beginning of the career of the greatest American soccer player ever. Nobody even really cared about US soccer. Outside the sports most dedicated fans soccer was a novelty to everybody else, fun when we won but there was no reason to invest your emotions.

But Donovan changed it all. With 156 international caps in his career, Donovan is American’s all-time scoring leader with 57 goals and in the world cup he started all 12 games he played, scored five times and won five games.

Soon after realizing he was an incredibly talent Americans fans just couldn’t not love Major League Soccer made an effort to get him from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen. The San Jose Earthquakes acquired him through a loan and he immediately dominated, scoring 32 goals in 87 appearances from 2001-2004. But once his contract ended in 2005 Donovan signed on with the LA Galaxy, where he began his accent to becoming the face of American soccer.

While Donovan dominated it was in 2007 when David Beckham signed on with the Galaxay and brought eyes to the MLS. Americans knew Beckham was a huge name and he became must-see TV. With all the eyes on the Galaxay, Donovan shined. People went for Beckham and left with Donovan jersey’s.

He did something that no American soccer player could do before, become a household name and relevant celebrity. There was an uproar after the roster was released for the most recent World Cup when usually the announcement of the team would go unnoticed and people wouldn’t even know who was on the team during the tournament.

That is what Donovan means. People are about him, people want to see him, people want to talk about him, not something easy for soccer players to do. But his skill forced people to notice. Now we just have to take this last international game and final few MLS games to enjoy his greatness and remember what got him there.

The following two tabs change content below.

Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

Comments are closed.