The headlines in the American soccer world are dripping with one name today: Landon Donovan. The American and LA Galaxy legend has decided to cut his retirement short and make a return to the injury-addled club that Donovan loves. Even two years removed from the game, there are only a handful of names that can boast the same weight in U.S. soccer, and we will all be waiting with bated breath to see if the famous #10 still has some magic in the tank.
Unlike most media outlets reporting the news, we have no qualms in removing “arguably” from the statement about Donovan being “arguably the greatest U.S. player of all time.” He is the greatest. Both in terms of accomplishments, accolades, and just sheer attention that he brought to the game. Without Donovan, we don’t have one of the greatest moments in American soccer history. Without Donovan, we don’t have an ironclad example of European failure and also European success for upcoming American players to follow. The Galaxy might only be handing Donovan a contract to battle their injury crisis, but the list of players that would be given this type of opportunity is short…incredibly short.
Donovan’s reasons for returning to the game he loved seemed to all circle around helping the beleaguered Galaxy, but a recent statement on Donovan’s social media showed that he wants his son (Talon) to get to experience his dad playing on a major ground at the highest level of American soccer. Donovan has seen players walk their children out onto the pitch for years, especially after major finals. This time, Landy-cakes will get the opportunity to share one of the greatest moments in sport with his son. Getting paid is nice…getting recognition is grand…showing your son what you mean to a professional organization? Priceless.
The questions about what level Donovan is at are currently irrelevant because of the sheer impact of the announcement. However, if he’s meant to be used sparingly anyway, we’re sure he’ll be more than capable of being a 10 minute super-sub. Don’t expect this to result in a call-up to the USMNT, but fully expect that to become a growing (extremely humorous) subplot of all this if Donovan returns and performs anywhere close to his old level (especially if he comes back for more than just this season). Looking for a vet to help train the team? He certainly fits the bill. It’s also great to have such a fantastic legacy to fall back on, because a poor “return” for Donovan shouldn’t have any effect on his legacy.
While we would have loved to see a midfield/attack involving Gerrard, Donovan, and Keane in their primes, we’ll certainly settle for that situation over the next few months. If we would have known that losing De Jong would result in Donovan coming back, I think that we would have all advocated for the infamous life-destroyer to be shipped off to Turkey long ago. One thing is certain, the man is back…we’re excited…and we now have an extra reason to tune into Galaxy games.
Welcome back Landycakes…welcome back.