Landon Donovan to retire after 2014 season


Landon Donovan, right, challenges Bayern Munich’s Rafinha in MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday. (By Scott Olmos — USA TODAY Sports)

Landon Donovan, the most prolific scorer in U.S. men’s soccer history, announced Thursday that he will retire after the 2014 season with the Los Angeles Galaxy. A day after scoring the winning goal in the MLS All-Star Game, Donovan announced in a written statement: “I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy. … 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, 32, is in his 10th season with the Galaxy and 14th in MLS. He is the league’s career scoring leader with 138 regular season goals and second in assists with 124. The California native is also the national team’s top scorer with 57 goals in 156 appearances, second most in program history. He featured in three World Cups between 2002 and 2010 but, in a stunning move, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann dropped him from roster consideration before this year’s competition in Brazil.

“I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and U.S. soccer during my playing career,” he said. “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.”

Donovan has won five MLS Cups, two with San Jose and three with Los Angeles.

“Landon Donovan is one of the most significant figures in the history of soccer in the United States,” said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena, who guided two World Cup squads that included Donovan. “His influence on MLS and soccer in this country will continue to be felt for many years to come. As both a player and a person, Landon has been an incredible representative of the L.A. Galaxy, MLS and the U.S. men’s national team and it has been my honor coaching him. We respect his decision to retire at the end of the season and look forward to competing for another MLS Cup and celebrating his outstanding career.”

Donovan has posted four goals and seven assists in 17 regular season appearances this year.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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