landon donovan
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Landon Donovan | Biography, Statistics, & Facts

Landon Donovan | Biography, Statistics, & Facts

Landon Donovan is a professional American football (soccer) player who was born in Ontario, California, on March 4, 1982. He is largely recognized as the best American male player in the history of the sport.

Donovan was a standout athlete while attending high school in Redlands, California, and he joined the American under-17 (U-17) squad in 1998. Due to his achievements in U-17 competition, German club Bayer Leverkusen were interested in Donovan and decided to sign him in 1999. Prior to being loaned to the San Jose (California) Earthquakes of Major League Soccer (MLS) in March 2001, he spent one season playing for the Bayer reserve squad before being called up to the first team in 2000.

In his first season with the Earthquakes, Donovan helped the team win the MLS Cup. Donovan was an instant hit upon his return to the United States. In 2003, the Earthquakes won their second MLS Cup, and Donovan was named the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. In 2004, he received the honor a second time. He spent two and a half months back at Bayer Leverkusen in the beginning of 2005 before being bought by the Major League Soccer team Los Angeles Galaxy. In his first year in Los Angeles, he subsequently guided the Galaxy to an MLS Cup victory, earning Donovan his third league trophy in five years.

For the 2008 MLS off-season, he was loaned to the German powerhouse team Bayern Munich, where he primarily filled in as a substitute. Donovan won the league’s Most Valuable Player award and was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year for a record-tying third time after leading the Galaxy to a spot in the 2009 MLS Cup final (which they lost to Real Salt Lake [Utah]). During a brief stint in the English Premier League with Everton in 2010, he made his largest impression to date as a player on loan. The following year, he scored the championship-clinching goal to help the Galaxy win another MLS Cup. Landon Donovan Biography.

When Donovan converted the go-ahead penalty kick in the MLS Cup final in 2012, he won his fifth MLS championship overall. In Donovan’s final match as a professional soccer player, the Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution 2-1, and two years later he won his sixth MLS Cup. Landon Donovan Biography.

Donovan established his enduring impact on the sport at the international level, even though he was perhaps the biggest player in the MLS throughout his domestic career. Donovan was a star on the American under-20 and under-23 teams, and he represented his nation at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney in addition to his accomplishments as a member of the U.S. U-17 team, which included winning the Golden Ball award as Most Valuable Player of the 1999 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) U-17 World Championship. In 2000, he made his senior national team debut and netted a goal in the opening game.

At the 2002 World Cup, Donovan led the Americans to an unexpected run to the quarterfinals. However, at the 2006 World Cup, the Americans only managed two goals—one of which was an opponent’s own goal—en route to an opening round-robin group stage exit. He contributed three goals to the Americans’ success at the 2010 World Cup, the most notable of which was a dramatic strike against Algeria in extra time of the team’s last group-stage match that helped the Americans advance to the single-elimination knockout round. The 32-year-old Donovan was not included on the United States roster for the 2014 World Cup despite his sustained excellent play. Landon Donovan Biography

He also played on four CONCACAF Gold Cup-winning teams, which represent North, Central America, and the Caribbean (2002, 2005, 2007, and 2013).

Having scored 57 goals for the United States men’s national team and 169 goals overall for the MLS (including regular season and postseason goals), Donovan retired from club and international soccer in 2014. In order to play for Club León of Liga MX in Mexico, he came out of retirement in 2018. He signed with the Major Arena Soccer League’s San Diego Sockers the following year.

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