Landon Donovan announces his retirement in emotional Facebook post

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

Landon Donovan has always done things his way. Why should retirement be any different?

At just 32-years-old, the all-time MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team goalscorer is calling it a career at the end of the 2014 MLS campaign.

“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,” Donovan announced on his Facebook page. “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.”

The announcement comes less than 24-hours from the moment Donovan scored the winning goal against his former club, Bayern Munich, at the MLS All-Star game.

Donovan leaves the game as unquestionably the most successful player to ever don an MLS or USMNT jersey. He has five MLS Cup victories to his name, with six Best XI selections, the 2008 Golden Boot and the 2009 League MVP award. Internationally, he has been the face of U.S. Soccer, scoring 57 goals in 156 appearances for the USMNT — five of which he scored in World Cup play.

That, despite the fact that current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann snubbed him from the 2014 roster.

Many will question the timing of Donovan’s retirement. After all, 32 is a young age to call it a career — especially in MLS. However, much like his sabbatical last season, the long-time Los Angeles Galaxy legend prefers to do things under his own accord — for better or worse.

Donovan did make clear that his retirement did not mean a full-fledged exit from the U.S. Soccer arena. He also thanked the fans for their undying support.

“You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS,” he wrote. “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.”

  • Myles

    B-b-but Landycakes?! Who will provide my US soccer drama now? Beckerman’s too stoner-bro chill for me to be ambivalent about!

    And what is Bruce Arena going to do? Damn it, LA. You need to have a villain on your team or it isn’t MLS! (Unless you’re going to troll us by signing Chicharito or something because then…)