The player who was the face of US Soccer for over a decade has decided to hang up his cleats, as Landon Donovan announced on Thursday that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2014 MLS season.
In a letter released on his Facebook account, the 32-year-old reflected on his career at both the club and national levels and his time playing the game has shaped who he has become as a player and a person.
“This day carries mixed emotions for me,’’ he wrote. “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.’’
Donovan will retire as the all-time leading scorer for US Soccer, scoring 57 goals in 156 appearances with the national team. In three World Cups appearances, he scored five goals in 12 games, the most by a single player in US history.
Donovan will always be remembered for the miraculous goal he scored in extra time to beat Algeria in the final match of group play the 2010 World Cup, propelling the US to winning Group C over England, Slovenia, and Algeria. Without the goal, the US would have tied Algeria and been eliminated from the tournament.
In his MLS career, Donovan scored 138 goals in 320 games and won five MLS Cups over a 14-year career with the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. He will retire as MLS’s all-time leading scorer.