If I may, I’d like to send a message to Landon Donovan on behalf of U.S. soccer fans everywhere: just make a decision already. The 2014 World Cup is less than 18 months away and the final round of qualifying for it has already started. The time has long since come for you to decide whether you want to participate in the qualifying effort and the subsequent tournament or not. There’s no need to keep your coaches, teammates and fans of U.S. soccer waiting: you’re either with us or you’re not.
Any reasonable person can understand and appreciate that Donovan feels that he is at a crossroads in his life and his career and needs time to consider his options and make a choice about what he wants to do moving forward. But those reasonable people will also tell you that life doesn’t always happen on your schedule, and that’s the case here.
Donovan may not feel he’s ready to make a decision about his soccer future, but the time has come to make that decision nonetheless. It would be cruel for him to decide he wants to play in the World Cup after the United States has qualified, reaping the rewards for the hard work of others. If he thinks there’s a chance that he’ll want to spend next summer in Brazil playing in the World Cup, then he needs to be with his teammates going through the qualifying process along with them. There’s no excuse not to.
Donovan’s supposed “uncertainty” is too easy to confuse with a prima donna attitude. U.S. soccer does not revolve around him. In fact, the United States has proven themselves capable of favorable results without Donovan in the lineup, including a historic road win against Italy last February. It would be foolish to say that the United States doesn’t want Donovan to play for them, but they do not need him to play for them. The U.S. is capable of reaching the World Cup without him.
But the ball, as it has been for quite some time, remains in Donovan’s court. He needs to make a decision about whether or not he’s going to be a part of the effort to qualify for the World Cup, whether he’s ready to make that decision or not.
Donovan continues to treat those involved unfairly the longer he waits to make a decision to join them on this incredibly difficult journey or not. Bottom line, it’s time to make a decision already–we won’t wait forever.