Landon Donovan announces football retirement

Last updated 07:08 08/08/2014
Landon Donovan
FULL TIME: American football icon Landon Donovan has confirmed he will retire at the end of the Major League Soccer season.

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Landon Donovan, the United States' all-time top scorer, will retire from the game at the end of the current Major League Soccer season, he announced today.

''After careful deliberation and many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last year as a professional soccer player,'' Donovan, who played in three World Cups for the United States, said in a statement which was published on his LA Galaxy club's website.

''It has been more than anything I could have dreamed of to represent the LA Galaxy, the San Jose Earthquakes, Everton, U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer throughout my career.''

Donovan became the first American football player to be well-known internationally despite playing almost all of his career in North America.

The forward scored 57 goals in 156 games for the US national team but was controversially left off the 2014 World Cup squad earlier this year.

Donovan, 32, took a break from the game in early 2013 saying he was struggling to find motivation and needed some time away from football.

The face of the national team and MLS, Donovan also had two unsuccessful spells in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich and had two loan spells in England with Premier League club Everton.

''Landon Donovan is one of the most significant figures in the history of soccer in the United States,'' said Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena.

''His influence on MLS and soccer in this country will continue to be felt for many years to come. 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 won five MLS titles, two with San Jose and three with the Galaxy, and also helped the US to four CONCACAF Gold Cup wins.

He was also voted 'Best Young Player' in the 2002 World Cup finals where he helped the United States to a quarter-final place.

In an 'open letter' to fans published by the Galaxy, Donovan said he intends to remain involved in the game in some capacity after his retirement.

''I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. 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,'' he said.

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The Galaxy play their final regular season game on October 25 at the Seattle Sounders, but the team, currently third in the Western Conference, is likely to feature in November's playoffs.

- Reuters

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