Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Donovan's Decision to Stay Home is Good for American Soccer

Landon Donovan is not going on a Euro-trip this winter. The all-time leading scorer for the USMNT and the Los Angeles Galaxy has decided to pass on any potential loan deals when the transfer window opens January 1.
“While I enjoyed my time at Everton last season and still appreciate all the support their fans have given me, I feel that it is important to continue to rest and recover this offseason as opposed to going on loan,” Donovan said. “I never considered being loaned to a club other than Everton, but I have been playing nearly non-stop for the past two years and I believe that this decision will allow me to perform at my best for the Galaxy and the National Team throughout the upcoming year. I look forward to re-joining my Galaxy teammates for the start of preseason training next month and beginning our quest for another MLS Cup championship.”
Personal opinion (That's why you're hear, right? No? Too bad... you're hearing it now.)?

We're glad he's sticking around. LD10 hasn't stopped playing soccer since, like, 2001, so it might be a good idea for him to take a break. The poor bastard was dragging ass after the World Cup and the Galaxy really have the tools to make a serious run at the MLS Cup in 2011 with Juan Pablo Angel, Edson Buddle, and, of course, FRANKIE HEJDUK filling out the roster.

Would more European experience been beneficial to Donovan? Yeah, sure, but he's proved he can make it at the European level with his stint at Everton last winter/spring so those haters can lay off. Donovan isn't going to be signed to any long-term deals in England and so they loan move would be for...?

And, well, he's the poster boy for Major League Soccer so having him hang around is a huge boost to the profile of the league. If I were him there's enough bank in that alone.

People that are complaining about Landon not moving abroad and then complaining that MLS isn't "high profile" enough and/or should retain top talent can't have it both ways. With Donovan committing fully to the domestic season (minus the Gold Cup) with the Galaxy and the league he's sending a powerful message that the league CAN and WILL retain some of its best players and CAN and WILL raise the league's profile by having America's star international player show his stuff stateside.

We want top American players to play in our league. That's the end goal. And until players start making that decision (although risky, still) Major League Soccer will not be a destination for the best American soccer has to offer. This is a positive step forward for MLS. Not one that every American player will make, but still forward momentum.

Lastly, if you're an American soccer fan you want Donovan rested and ready for that Gold Cup this summer. This is a top priority for the USMNT. Taking the GC title this June will mean a place in the Confederations Cup in Brazil in 2013 and everyone knows what happened last time we played in that.

Glad to have you home, Landon.

Source: Los Angeles Galaxy website

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