You are not dreaming, the news is true. Former USMNT star Landon Donovan has come out of retirement to join Mexican side Club Leon FC.
Landon Donovan…again and again
The news broke a few days ago that “Captain America” would be “un-retiring” for the second time in his career. In 2016 he (re-)joined the Los Angeles Galaxy—his former MLS club—after less than 2 years out of competition.
On the international level, Donovan holds 157 caps for the U.S. as well as 57 total goals and 58 assists.
A mover and a “quaker”
The move itself is interesting to say the least, but—when looking at Donovan’s career path—may not be all that surprising. In his early days as a professional, Donovan represented Bayer Leverkusen’s second and first team as well as the San Jose Earthquakes before settling with the Galaxy.
During his tenure with the Galaxy from 2005 to 2014 and 2016, Donovan exposed the rest of the world to his style of play by accepting loans from Bayern Munich and Everton. Throughout his time in LA, Donovan would make over 100 appearances and score over 50 goals.
By the time he was finished in the MLS, he had won a record six MLS Cups and had the MVP trophy named after him. Donovan also finished as the league’s all-time top scorer with 145 goals and the all-time assist leader with 136.
The ageless striker had this to say about his new club (in his fluent Spanish): “I loved the city. Leon has the best fans. Club Leon is a historic and winning team. I don’t believe in walls, I want to go to Mexico, wear green and win trophies with Leon. See you very soon!”
Presidente: me encantó la Ciudad. Es la mejor afición. @clubleonfc es un equipo histórico y ganador. No creo en los muros, quiero ir a México, vestirme de verde y ganar trofeos con León. Nos vemos muy pronto! https://t.co/Xqm4jX2hW7
— Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) January 13, 2018
Why now? Why Leon?
As an American and fellow supporter of the MLS, any news of Landon Donovan returning to play is exciting. To me, it seems as though he is looking for a new challenge.
It is obvious he still has a passion for the game and wants to find a place where he will be able to continue to play. What is pulling him toward Leon or what is most appealing about Leon? In my opinion, it is the style of the game. Liga MX presents a very “run and gun” type of atmosphere where players are forced to think quick on their feet while the ball is moved around the field with one or two touch passes. It is a league that fits Donovan’s style of play very well. Also, Liga MX runs on a similar calendar year as the MLS, so a move to the Galaxy in the future can not be ruled out as Donovan’s last stop.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Liga MX’s concentration of U.S. players past and present has been quite impressive as the likes of Greg Garza, DaMarcus Beasley, Tab Ramos, Eric Wynalda, Michael Orozco, Herculez Gomez, Jonathan Borstein, and Edgar Castillo have all played there at one point in their careers.
Whether it’s a new challenge he is chasing or playing in Mexico is just something Donovan has always wanted to do, American fans will have no problem welcoming him back and enjoy watching him play again.