Still, the Galaxy may redouble their efforts to reach another MLS Cup in light of Donovan’s announcement and his desire to go out on a championship-winning note after a career with so many notable moments.
Columnist Jill Painter provides context and perspective on Donovan’s career here.
Finally, the LA Galaxy II (11-7-4, 37 points) faces Arizona United SC (6-11-5, 21 points) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at StubHub Center. The game will be streamed live at lagalaxy.com.
“There is no doubt that Major League Soccer would not be what it is today without Landon Donovan.
“His decision to join MLS in 2001 was a statement to the entire soccer community, at the most crucial time in our history, that MLS could be a league of choice for the best American players. Landon is to MLS, what Michael Jordan was to the NBA, Wayne Gretzky was to the NHL and Tiger Woods was to the PGA Tour; a player who’s sporting accomplishments and popularity transformed their respective leagues and set a new standard for how the game would be played.
“While Landon is arguably the greatest player our country has ever produced, it is his character and his commitment to growing the game in the United States that truly makes him so special. We plan to celebrate his career during the second half of the MLS season, and we look forward to working alongside Landon as he continues to work in the sport he loves.”
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.
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.
However, I will follow the lead of selected, but absent Galaxy All-Stars Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane and skip the whole thing with an eye on Friday’s Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes game — just like those missing players from LA.
Could the Galaxy add to their back to back MLS Cup titles of a couple of years ago? Maybe.
But it’s clear after the disappointment of last season, no one is taking anything for granted including rising hotshot Gyasi Zardes who seems to have exactly the right attitude:
“I just take it in by day,” he said after Saturday’s game. “Now this game is over, I don’t look back. I don’t fantasize over all the goals I scored. I start looking at now. When I’m in the game, in that moment, in my head, I’m thinking ‘zero goals, nothing. ‘Prove myself.’”