Landon Donovan has today announced that the current MLS season will be his last as a player.
The impending retirement of one of North America's biggest ever football stars is likely to be a shock to many that follow the US team, as well as for the global footballing community.
Donovan is already a legend of the MLS and US football, where he is record goalscorer for both the league and his national team, and will now have just a few months to play out his final few games. The standard season wraps up in October, with the playoffs and eventual MLS Cup final occurring in December, should Galaxy make it that far.
Despite starring in the MLS All Star's game with Bayern Munich this week, where he netted in a 2-1 win against the German giants, Donovan clearly feels like now is the time to hang up his boots.
He was left hurting by Jurgan Klinsmann's snub for the US's World Cup tournament in Brazil, something that may have helped convince him that now is the time to call it a day. At the time of writing, Donovan has scored 57 goals in 156 games for the Stars and Stripes.
The forward impressed in two short loan spells at Everton in 2010 and 2012, while also turning out for Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen earlier in his career. But it his time at Galaxy that will be best remembered from his club career, with Donovan and David Beckham two of the league's big draws in its early days.
The 32-year-old posted the following message on his Facebook page:
After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player.
I don't write these words lightly and this day carries mixed emotions for me. I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy. I will miss all of the teammates who helped me create so many incredible memories on-the-field, and who I have shared many wonderful experiences with off-the-field. I will miss my coaches, at both the club and national team levels, who have helped me develop throughout my career and helped make me the player I am today. However, after spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person.
There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey. I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.
I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.
As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States. I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life.
Is Donovan retiring too early?