CARSON, California (AP) ― Landon Donovan, widely considered as America’s best ever footballer, will retire at the end of the MLS season.
The 32-year-old LA Galaxy forward is the top goalscorer in MLS history and a five-time league champion.
“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,” Donovan said in a statement on his Facebook page. “And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.”
Donovan was named the most valuable player of his 14th MLS All-Star game on Wednesday night in Portland, scoring a goal in the All-Stars’ 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.
|U.S. forward Landon Donovan. (AFP-Yonhap)|
He has played for the Galaxy since 2005, also going on loan to Everton and Bayern Munich during the Galaxy’s offseason. Donovan struggled early in his pro career with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, but was popular during his two stints with the Premier League club.
“Congratulations on a great career to (at)landondonovan as he announces he’ll retire later this year. Part of EFC fabric,” Everton tweeted from its official account.
A five-time MLS champion with the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes, Donovan agreed to a multiyear contract extension with the Galaxy just a year ago, pronouncing himself revitalized after an extended sabbatical. He took several months off after winning the Galaxy’s second straight MLS Cup title alongside now-retired David Beckham in December 2012.
“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 said.
Donovan played in the three World Cups from 2002-2010, but didn’t make the squad for Brazil.
He is the career U.S. leader with 57 international goals over 156 appearances, and he has scored five World Cup goals, including his stoppage-time goal against Algeria four years ago to send the Americans to the second round. He watched the American team in Brazil from afar as a television commentator.
“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 said. “I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life.”
The regular MLS season ends in October, and is followed by the playoffs for the MLS Cup.