Landon Timothy Donovan (born March 4, 1982) is an American professional soccer player who plays as a forward and attacking midfielder for Liga MX side Club León. He holds numerous individual records in Major League Soccer (MLS) and for the United States national team and is regarded as the greatest American men’s soccer player of all time.
A native of Southern California, Donovan was a member of the inaugural class of the U.S. Soccer youth residency program in Bradenton, Florida. He was named Player of the Tournament for his role in the United States under-17 squad that finished fourth in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship before signing with German club Bayer Leverkusen later that year. In 2005, after six years with Leverkusen, the majority of which were spent on loan with the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS, Donovan moved back to the United States permanently to sign with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He later returned to Germany for a loan with Bayern Munich, and twice went on short loans to English Premier League club Everton in 2010 and 2012. He retired as a player in 2014, but made a brief comeback with LA Galaxy late in the 2016 season and then in 2018 to play for Club León.
In MLS, Donovan won a record six MLS Cups and is both the league’s all-time top scorer with 145 goals and the league’s all-time assists leader with 136. The Major League Soccer MVP Award has been renamed the Landon Donovan MVP Award in his honor.
For the United States men’s national team, Donovan is the all-time leader in assists and tied with Clint Dempsey as all-time leader in scoring, and is the second-most-capped player of his country. Donovan is the only American player to reach the 50 goals/50 assists mark. He is a four-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award (the only man to do so and the first man to win in consecutive years), as well as the only seven-time winner of the Honda Player of the Year award. Donovan starred in the U.S. team that reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup where he received the Best Young Player Award. His three goals in the 2010 World Cup made Donovan the highest-scoring male American player in World Cup history and one of the three male American players to score in more than one World Cup, along with Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey.
In March 2017, Donovan joined a private ownership group seeking to bring the next MLS expansion team to San Diego, California.
Donovan was born (along with twin sister Tristan) on March 4, 1982, in Ontario, California, to Donna Kenney-Cash, a special education teacher, and Tim Donovan, a semi-professional ice hockey player originally from Canada, which makes Donovan a Canadian citizen by descent. His mother raised Landon and his siblings in Redlands, California, and he attended Redlands East Valley High School when not engaged in soccer activities elsewhere.
Donovan first played soccer with his older brother and when Donovan was six, his mother allowed him to join an organized league, where he scored seven goals in his first match. Donovan was a member of Cal Heat – a club based in nearby Rancho Cucamonga, California under coach Clint Greenwood. In 1997, he was accepted into U.S. Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program. In 1999 Donovan attended the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with other members of the U-17 national team as part of U.S. Soccer’s youth development program.
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