Two more locals associated with soccer — agent Richard Motzkin and Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers, who is emerging as a respected spokesman in the gay community — make the list of the top five up and comers.
With all due respect to Tim Howard, but Kasey Keller remains the greatest goalkeeper ever to play for the U.S. national team while South Bay favorite son Sigi Schmid, who moved to Torrance at age 10 from his native Germany, is the greatest U.S. coach never to have assumed the helm of the national team.
It’s typical of Schmid though to say that his accomplishments pale in comparison to the lasting friendships he has made through the sport:
“It’s a reflection of your peers acknowledging what you’ve done, and it’s a reflection of the body of your work, so this is something I am very proud of,” Schmid said of his hall of fame induction. ““The biggest thing for me has been the players I have had the privilege coaching and the players that have become friends; the relationships and friendships that have existed beyond coaching players — now that for me is the biggest reward. That is bigger than the trophies or any of the awards, just knowing that you have been meaningful in someone’s life.”
“Landon Donovan’s commitment to growing the game in North America is unrivaled and his contributions to Major League Soccer are immeasurable,” said Commissioner Don Garber. “When he joined MLS in 2001, he showed other American players that this was his ‘League of Choice.’ His legacy will be forever etched in our league’s history, and we appreciate everything he has accomplished, both on and off the field.”
The Southern California native, the all-time leader in MLS goals and assists, said he was “extremely humbled” by the gesture:
“As a child, soccer was merely an outlet for me — a way to express myself,” said Donovan. “To have this prestigious award named after me is truly unimaginable.
For the first 25 years of his life, Robbie Rogers would not admit — even to himself — that he was gay.
And he confided to no one his fears and hopes during a lifetime of denial:
“Why didn’t I speak to anyone — a therapist or anyone?” he wondered during an interview Thursday. “That just shows how afraid I was.”
But today, Rogers has the support of his family, friends and the extended soccer community who encouraged the only active gay athlete in a major U.S. sport not to quit the game. To complete his journey — and that of Landon Donovan — the Galaxy must win Sunday against the New England Revolution in Carson.
“There’s been a lot of things happening outside of soccer and we’ve all supported each other,” he said. “I think it shows on the field.”
“I feel very blessed,” he added. “Now it’s the perfect way to end a perfect yr.”
If you haven’t yet had enough of Landon Donovan interviews, then you will want to catch Cobi Jones sitting down for an extended 30-minute conversation with the LA Galaxy playmaker in the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet series “Connected With…”
Donovan will talk about his impending retirement and, of course, his omission from the World Cup squad:
“Of course I was hurt…And the part that I haven’t talked a lot about is that it was painful for my family…They had this amazing trip planned, this amazing life journey…Not only are they devastated for their son, uncle, nephew…but it was a really difficult time for us as a family.”
Meanwhile, the Galaxy Friday unveiled a series of events on gameday (others are being kept under wraps) that will honor Donovan including:
Encouraging fans to be in their seats by 5 p.m.for a “special on-field celebration” that will incorporate “tributes to Donovan’s historic career.”
Having the opportunity to have their photo taken with the MLS Cup trophy from the Galaxy’s MLS Cup victories in 2002, 2005, 2011 and 2012 as part of SoccerFest, located on the South Plaza at StubHub Center.
Writing a personal message on a #ThanksLD canvas.
A No. 10 card fans will receive as they enter the stadium.
A stadium-wide Landon Donovan chant when the game clock reaches 10:00 and thank you videos from fans played before the game and at half time.
This is part 2 of a six-part documentary on retiring LA Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan leading up to his final home regular season Major League Soccer game Sunday against the Seattle Sounders in Carson.
A six-part documentary series documenting Landon Donovan’s career will be released daily through Sunday’s showdown with the Seattle Sounders by MLS and Copper Pot Pictures (makers of “Kei,” the documentary about Sierra Leone refugee Kei Kamara who moved to Lawndale) as told by the likes of Bruce Arena, Tim Cahill, Todd Dunivant, John Ellinger, Julie Foudy, Chris Klein, David Moyes, Richard Motzkin, Paul Pabst, Rob Stone, Taylor Twellman and Grant Wahl.