Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Donovan Dilemma

Landon Donovan is known as USA soccer's native son. He has been chosen to carry an entire nation's hopes and aspirations of soccer dominance on his back. Donovan is the US Men's National Team all time leading scorer, playmaker, and without a doubt, the greatest soccer player the US has EVER produced. Landon deserves his number 10 shirt he wears for both the US National Team and his club team, LA Galaxy. Landon is also the poster boy for USA soccer and the best known USA soccer player, among casual and non-soccer fans in the US. Landon has just returned from his 2 month long loan to EPL club, Everton, for the second time in two years.

Landon is loved and respected by the Everton fans, and has been named as player of the month during both of his loan spells with Everton. Landon has proven himself, time and time again, and many fans and critics, including Donovan's former national teammate Brad Friedel, have criticized Donovan for "taking the easy way out" by staying in MLS.

I disagree.

Donovan, is the final remaining US Men's National Team star, in MLS. If Donovan left, it would be disastrous for the league on many levels. Every other National Team hero, including; Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley all left their MLS clubs to play with European clubs - Manchester United, Fulham, Villareal and SC Heerenveen. These four, along with nearly every other US National Team player, left the league to move on to "bigger and better" teams in Europe.

Every single MLS fan, wants the league to eventually grow, thrive, and prove that it can be one of the best leagues in the world (while our league is already arguably one of the ten best leagues in the world, it can and will get better). How can this happen, when every national team player, from Howard, Dempsey, Altidore, & Bradley, on down, leave MLS and play abroad? How can we as fans or a league say Major League Soccer is a strong and thriving soccer league when not a single USMNT star player plays here?

With Donovan here in MLS, it proves that the league is a strong and good one. He proves on countless occasions that he is the best team player for the stars and stripes. He proves that he has the skills and talent to play on top teams.

Donovan sends the message, that he, as best American soccer player, stays in MLS and plays, despite his ability to play in the Bundesliga or EPL. He is speaking volumes to the skill quality of the league ans he is encouraging other Americans to follow suit.

If we look at every other league in the top 10 leagues in the world, there are star players from their national team, play there. Look at the German National Team, for example. The stars - Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez, and Manuel Neuer all play in the Bundesliga. Yet, there are star national team players playing with top teams outside the Bundesliga (Klose with Lazio, and Khedira and Ozil with Real Madrid). By National Team stars staying in Germany and playing in the Bundesliga, it aids both the Bundesliga and the German National Team. Imagine if every German Star played outside the Bundesliga. It would be disastrous.

Donovan is doing the right thing by staying in the MLS. He could be scoring goals and assists on a weekly basis in the EPL, La Liga, or the Bundesliga; however, he chose to stay and help grow the MLS. An admirable and great cause, and we should all thank him.

Landon Donovan is helping American Soccer grow and thrive by staying in the MLS. I stand behind his decision and American Soccer fans should too, especially if they want MLS and soccer in America to grow.

Thank you, Landon Donovan.

I want to hear your thoughts and opinions, leave a post below.


  1. I like this post. I think that it is important to see our USMNT stars play at home or at least somewhat together. Jurgen has to travel all over to keep track of his players. It doesn't work. The good thing is that young USMNT players do play here. It provides excitement. Currently though, the league is far enough along to convince a huge star to stay. The DP rule is helping this process but that seems to be spent on the international stars. G

    Give it time and it will be what we want it to be. MLS is more exciting every year. It becomes an attractive option. I cannot wait to see what it will be in 10 or 20 years. A player like LD staying here won't be an easy route but the best route.

    Well said though.

    1. Thank you!
      I think in due time, top players will consider MLS a valuable option. The stadiums, arenas, and staff are TOP quality here. It's only a matter of time.

  2. I disagree, but then again I like college basketball and minor league baseball. American Soccer is aspirational. If we as a soccer nation aren't striving for better things then what are we doing? Landon Donovan in his prime (right now) could be worth 15-20 million in transfer fees. Take that money and turn it into development. Go find two, three, four other Landon Donovans. Donovan's problem is that he owes it to American Soccer fans to strive to be the best. He's coasting in MLS. Go be the best you can be. I'll cheer for Mike Magee - perfectly cool with that.

  3. I agree with you, Mike. It is definitely something that needs to be said. I personally feel that Landon would love to go to Everton full-time, but the MLS would NEVER let him go for a small fee. Until then, he is chilling in LA and winning championships. He has nothing to complain about, but his most recent comments on his future with the Galaxy make me feel that he may want to go to EFC or Europe full time before his legs give out. And why wouldn't he? He has accomplished everything he has wanted to and more and may want a new challenge. For now at least, we are graced with his incredible presence in America.