Landon Donovan, arguably the most well-known and perhaps best American soccer player of all-time, is going to retire at the end of the 2014 MLS season tweets ESPN’s Taylor Twellman. Twellman also broke the news earlier this year that Donovan would be left of Jurgen Klinsmann’s final World Cup roster.
Donovan confirmed the news on his Facebook page.
Although he’s only 32, Donovan has logged almost 440 games in his career between his stints in Germany, England, MLS and on U.S. duty with minimal breaks except for his self-imposed sabbatical last year during World Cup qualifying. His career with the senior U.S. National Team stands at 156 appearances and 57 goals, along with three World Cups. He’s also the all-time MLS top scorer with 138 regular season goals.
As is his nature, Donovan’s retirement will set off a series of debates, likely examining the issue of soccer’s place in America and how Donovan helped it grow — particularly his famous last-second goal vs. Algeria in the 2010 World Cup. Frame Donovan’s career however you like, but he’s responsible for some of the best moments in U.S. Soccer history at both the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, along with being the face of MLS for better or worse for the last decade.
Although the relationship between Donovan and Klinsmann appears frosty, Donovan is certainly worthy of one final send-off/farewell type game with the National Team so the American fans can cheer and say thank you for all he’s achieved. I’m pretty sure, with the help of either ESPN or Fox, it could be arranged.