Less than 24 hours after he scored the game-winner in Wednesday’s All-Star Game, Landon Donovan made the stunning announcement on Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season.
As the face of MLS for over a decade, Donovan, 32, will end his career as the league’s all-time leading goalscorer (138) and second to only former Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston in the assist department (124). At the National Team level, Donovan ranks number one goals (57) and assists (58) for the United States, and played in three World Cups.
“I think it’s very important in life to make decisions that are best for you, best for your friends and family and, most importantly, best for your happiness,” Donovan told the media on Thursday. “And so, at this point, this is the decision that is best for all those things, and that’s why I’m making it.”
Donovan originally entered the league with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 on loan from Bayer Leverkusen II before joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005. During his 14 years in MLS, he won five MLS Cup championships, the most recent coming in 2012.
Shortly after the announcement, MLS Commissioner Don Garber spoke about the impact Donovan made on the league’s profile during his playing career.
“There is no doubt that Major League Soccer would not be what it is today without Landon Donovan,” said Garber in a statement. “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.
Three months ago, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made the controversial decision to leave Donovan off the 23-man World Cup roster, much to the chagrin of many U.S. supporters.
With the sun about to set on one of the most celebrated careers in American soccer history, Donovan expressed his desire to leave a positive impression on those around him.
“I hope that my teammates will say I was a good teammate,” said Donovan. “I hope that my coaches will say they enjoyed working with me and having me on their team. I hope that the fans enjoyed watching and could see how much I gave to this sport over the last 16 years.”