Landon Donovan life and biography

Landon Donovan picture, image, poster

Landon Donovan biography

Date of birth : 1982-03-04
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Ontario, California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-05-11
Credited as : Soccer player Los Angeles Galaxy, World Cup ,

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Landon Timothy Donovan (born March 4, 1982) is an American soccer player who plays for Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer. He plays usually as a withdrawn forward, and can also be used as an attacking midfielder on either wing.

A member of the inaugural class of the U.S. Soccer residency program in Bradenton, Florida, Donovan was declared player of the tournament for his role in the national U-17 team that finished fourth in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship, before signing for Bayer Leverkusen. After six years with the club, the majority of which was spent on loan at the San Jose Earthquakes, Donovan moved to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005, though he returned to the Bundesliga for a three-month spell at the start of 2009 on loan to Bayern Munich. In 2010 he signed for Premier League side Everton on a ten-week loan spell in the Major League Soccer off-season.

For the United States national team, Donovan is the all-time leader in scoring and assists, and has the most caps of all active players. He is the only six-time winner of the Honda Player of the Year award.

Donovan was born on March 4, 1982, in Ontario, California to parents Donna Kenney-Cash, a special education teacher, and Tim Donovan, a semi professional ice hockey player. He grew up in Redlands, California and attended and graduated from Redlands East Valley High School with older brother Josh and twin sister Tristan.

When Donovan was six, he asked his mother to join an organized league, and scored seven goals in his first game. Donovan was a member of Cal Heat — a club based in Rancho Cucamonga under coach Clint Greenwood. In 1997, he was accepted into U.S. Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program. He attended Redlands East Valley High School in California. In 1999, Donovan attended the IMG Soccer Academy, part of U.S. Soccer's training program.

Club career
Bayer Leverkusen/San Jose Earthquakes

Later in 1999 Donovan signed for German club Bayer Leverkusen. Unhappy with his situation in Germany, he was loaned to the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer for the 2001 season. In MLS, Donovan had immediate success, leading the Earthquakes to MLS Cup championships in 2001 and 2003 and becoming one of the most recognizable faces of soccer in America. In four years in the league, he scored 32 goals and 29 assists in league play, and 10 goals and six assists in the playoffs. Donovan was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2003.

In 2004 Donovan became the first man to be named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year two years in a row, before returning to Bayer Leverkusen in 2005. After playing seven games with Leverkusen, only two of which were starts, Donovan stated his intentions to return to MLS. Despite a late offer from English club Portsmouth, Bayer Leverkusen officials respected his wishes. However, because San Jose GM Alexi Lalas had traded away Donovan's rights, the Los Angeles Galaxy, his hometown team, were able to trade leading scorer Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas to get on top of the MLS allocation order one week before the season started.

Los Angeles Galaxy

In his first season with the Galaxy, Donovan scored twelve league goals and ten assists and added four goals and an assist in the playoffs as the Galaxy won the MLS Cup (his third MLS championship to date). He was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI after the season. In his second season with the Galaxy, Donovan scored twelve league goals and eight assists. Donovan also scored three goals in the Open Cup. Despite this, Donovan and the Galaxy failed to make the playoffs and lost in the Open Cup to Chicago Fire. Donovan's playoff goals make him MLS' second all-time leading scorer in the playoffs with fourteen, behind Carlos Ruiz with fifteen.

Donovan had a mixed year with the Galaxy in 2007. Upon the signing and arrival of David Beckham, Donovan relinquished his captaincy to the English superstar. In the 2007 SuperLiga tournament, Donovan was the top scorer. Donovan scored a goal in every game except for the final. Donovan now has eighty-four all-time regular season goals putting him in seventh place on the league's all time scoring list. Although the 2008 season was a disappointment for the Galaxy, it was a banner year for Donovan as he scored twenty goals and nine assists in twenty-five games, forming a strong offensive partnership with David Beckham and Edson Buddle.

After his former national team manager Bruce Arena was named Galaxy head coach and Beckham joined AC Milan on loan in early 2009, Donovan once again was given the club captaincy on a permanent basis. In July 2009, Donovan received praise and criticism for his critical comments about Beckham in Sports Illustrated journalist Grant Wahl's book The David Beckham Experiment, calling Beckham a poor captain and teammate. He later apologized to Beckham for discussing his concerns to a reporter rather than to him directly. The two reconciled upon Beckham's midseason return to Los Angeles and Donovan enjoyed an outstanding 2009 campaign, winning the league's Most Valuable Player and MLS Goal of The Year 2009 award and leading the Galaxy to MLS Cup 2009, which they lost on penalties. Following the season Donovan agreed to a four-year extension to his contract with the Galaxy, with clauses that allow the player to seek loans during the MLS offseason.

Loans to other clubs

In November 2008 Donovan trained with FC Bayern Munich, before joining the German club on loan until the start of the 2009 MLS season in mid-March. During his stay with Bayern, Donovan had appearances in five friendly matches, in which he scored four goals, five league games, and one DFB Cup match. At the end of the loan period, Bayern declined to extend his loan.

After the 2009 MLS season had finished, Donovan joined English Premier League side Everton on loan in January 2010. During this period, he played in thirteen games in all competitions, scored two goals, and was named the club's Player of the Month for his performances in January. Everton were keen on extending his loan deal, but the Galaxy refused, and Donovan returned to the US in time for the start of the 2010 MLS season. His performance on loan earned him a spot on the All-Over There team compiled by SoccerOverThere.com, ranking his performance relative to his league as one of the best 11 by an American in Eurasia .

International career

Donovan was a member of the inaugural class at U.S. Soccer's full-time residency program at the IMG Soccer Academy, in Bradenton, Florida. He won the Golden Ball at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship as the tournament's best player. In his two years playing for the U-17 team, he scored thirty-five goals in forty-one games. In 2000, he moved up to both the United States U-23 men's national soccer team as well as the senior team.

After starring for the U.S. team that nearly won a medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics, he earned his first cap for the United States senior team on October 25, 2000, against Mexico, and scored in his debut. Donovan had a breakout tournament, scoring two goals during the United States' run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and was named Best Young Player for the tournament. He had a rare four-goal game against Cuba in 2003. On April 11, 2006, Donovan became the United States' all-time assist leader with twenty-three when he set up Ben Olsen; the previous all-time assist leader was Cobi Jones.

Donovan was a member of the U.S. squad at the 2006 World Cup, in which the Americans were eliminated in the group stage. He led the U.S. to the 2007 Gold Cup title with 4 goals, including a crucial penalty in the 2–1 victory over Mexico in the final. On January 19, 2008, Donovan scored his 35th international goal, a penalty against Sweden, and passed Eric Wynalda as the United States' all-time leading goal scorer. Donovan reached 100 caps at the age of twenty-six on June 8, 2008, in a friendly against Argentina that ended in a 0–0 draw, and was the fourth-youngest person to do so.

Donovan captained the U.S. in the group stage of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup due to Carlos Bocanegra's injury absence. Donovan scored on a penalty kick against Italy, shortly after his team had been reduced to 10 men, and scored for the United States in a 3–2 defeat to Brazil in the final. On October 10, 2009, Donovan scored on a free kick, giving the U.S. a 3–2 victory over Honduras in San Pedro Sula, clinching a berth in the 2010 World Cup.

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