The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, pictured second from left above during the Galaxy’s White House visit earlier this week, spoke to the media for the first time today since his self-enforced exile from the game while he attempted to reclaim his mental and physical verve.
A teleconference Thursday furnished an honest, candid, revealing look at the psyche of a world class player: “In this society and a lot of societies we have a sort of stigma that being in a difficult mental place is not acceptable,” he said, adding that while recovering from physical injury is acceptable, mental exhaustion is viewed differently. “It’s a little peculiar to me. … If you’re really in a place where you’re struggling mentally then we need to be more compassionate with people in all walks of life (who need time off).
Donovan said that some had believed his desire for time off was not “captain-like,” although he would like to reclaim the captaincy of both club and country if possible. He also contended he believed his conduct showed responsibility, not the opposite, since ensuring his level of mental engagement was healthy was the sign of a leader.
However, Donovan conceded his loan at Everton early last year may well have contributed to his physical and mental exhaustion.
Donovan said he was unsure how much of a role he would play in next week’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg: “I could potentially see myself playing some role. I think it may be a little early to say I’m going to be playing significant minutes but you never know. Obviously I understand the importance of this tournament to this club, this team and this organization.”