Regarded by many as the greatest American soccer player ever, Landon Donovan announced on Thursday that he will hang up his boots at the end of the MLS season. Just hours after scoring the game-winner in the MLS All-Star Game against Bayern Munich, Donovan announced his decision to retire via his Twitter page and Facebook.
Donovan’s decision to step down came after a hectic year in which he attempted to play in his fourth World Cup, but was ultimately denied after being omitted from Jurgen Klinsmann‘s final roster. Many thought that the 2014 World Cup was going to be the swansong for Donovan, but when the opportunity didn’t arrive, many began to wonder when the 32-year-old would call it a day.
After a distinguished career in which he broke the records for most goals and assists in 156 caps for the USMNT, it is hard to argue that there has been a more decorated player to put on the U.S. jersey. At the club level, Donovan was able to capture five MLS cups and a league MVP in 2009, while also holding the record for scoring the most goals in MLS history.
On foreign soil, Donovan had the opportunity to play for some of Europe’s most historic clubs, including Bayern Munich and Everton.
Aside from the numerous records and accomplishments, the most important thing Donovan will be remembered for will be his contribution for growing the sport of soccer in America. Donovan has been for soccer what Michael Jordan was for basketball, or what Michael Phelps is for swimming. He is the face of the sport in the United States. He has represented the country on a numerous of occasions and has always done his country proud.
On behalf of everyone who has had the pleasure of watching you play, I want to say thank you Landon for everything you’ve done for the sport.
Asheer Mahbob is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @el_especial24.