It has been weeks since Jurgen Klinsmann announced his World Cup 23-man squad, which made headlines with the omission of Landon Donovan. Although Donovan was a key player in the U.S. National Team (USMNT) World Cup qualifiers, Klinsmann did not feel he was at the same level of the rest of the squad and cut him. Whether or not this was a good decision will be argued for years to come, but Donovan has moved on. He may not be on the pitch in Brazil where he thought he would be, but he will be gracing our television screens as an analyst for ESPN.
Donovan has played soccer for many years and has the experience to properly analyze a match and players. It’s always great to see a player’s point of view on the match rather than analysts who haven’t been on a pitch in years. I often hear analysts arguing when a former player chimes in and points out how a given situation affects a player on the field and how it’s harder than it looks. This is the sort of insight I feel will come from Donovan.
He has already made public statements on his disagreements with Klinsmann. Klinsmann continues to express that he does not believe the USMNT will even be able to escape group stage, while Donovan, on the other hand, thinks they can. It’s disappointing to hear a coach not have faith in his own team, but if the players have faith, maybe it would be the sweetest victory of all to win.
I’m not sure what Donovan is hoping to accomplish with this analyst gig; I hope it’s more than just trying to make some extra money. This may be a glimpse into the future. Donovan may retire when his contract runs out with Los Angeles Galaxy, and I think it would be awesome to see him become a soccer analyst full time.