Carson: Landon Donovan will retire on Sunday as the greatest American to have played soccer, his LA Galaxy coach said ahead of Sunday’s MLS Cup final against the New England Revolution.
Donovan will leave the game as the all-time top scorer in Major League Soccer and for the U.S. national team, and coach Bruce Arena said his legacy would be a simple one.
“I would think his legacy would be that he left the game as the greatest player in the history of U.S. soccer and he is a damn good person. That is a pretty good legacy,” said Arena, who also coached Donovan at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
Donovan departs at the relatively early age of 32, having announced in August his decision to quit. That meant that each game in the knockout playoffs could have been his last.
“It has been a little bit different because I personally didn’t know what was coming next but now I know,” said Donovan.
“I have been very excited every day to wake up and go to training. Candidly, I don’t want it to end. It has been a lot of fun and I am going to have that attitude on Sunday. I want it to be as enjoyable as possible and that would be winning,” he added.
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane said he had not tried to change Donovan’s mind.
“He has made the decision that he is going to retire which is a shame, but at the end of the day, it is up to him and you have to respect his decision. If anyone deserves to go out on a high it is certainly Landon,” Keane said.
Donovan, who has won three MLS Cups with LA and two with San Jose, hopes he will be remembered for his personal qualities as much as what he achieved on the field.
“I have just always tried to be a good team-mate, a winner, I know I am not always perfect as a lot of people will attest to.
“At the end of it all, I realise I could have played on teams that we are not as successful (as Galaxy) so I have been really fortunate, I’m proud of what I’ve done, I’ve tried to be a good friend to people and that’s the most important.