Landon Donovan will retire from professional soccer at the end of the MLS season.
“After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player,” Donovan wrote.
Donovan burst onto the soccer scene in 1999 as a member of the inaugural class in the U.S. Soccer residency program in Bradenton, Florida. Over the course of his career he played for several clubs in different leagues around the world, most notably Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, Everton in the English Premier League, and the L.A. Galaxy in MLS. His 136 goals in MLS are the most in league history.
As a member of the U.S. men’s national team, Donovan played in three World Cups and holds records for most goals, assists, and caps. His goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup is arguably the most iconic moment in American soccer history.
Here’s Donovan’s entire statement:
“I don’t write these words lightly and this day carries mixed emotions for me. I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy. I will miss all of the teammates who helped me create so many incredible memories on-the-field, and who I have shared many wonderful experiences with off-the-field. I will miss my coaches, at both the club and national team levels, who have helped me develop throughout my career and helped make me the player I am today. However, after spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person.
“There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey. I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.
“I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.
“As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States. I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life.”
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