Donovan conference call transcript
On his favorite San Jose Earthquakes moments:
"Well there's a lot. Obviously my debut game, which ironically was in LA, was the first game I got into. Winning the MLS Cup the first year was probably the best moment. That team was pretty special and I had a lot of very, very good friends on that team so that was just fun. So that was a culmination of not playing in Germany and coming back and having it end like that. It was pretty special."
On emotions about Quakes fans' reactions to his return:
"Fortunately the last couple of weeks we've had a lot of Saturday - Wednesday games, so I haven't had a lot of time to think about it, which is probably good. I think, first of all, it's going to be weird being in the away team hotel. I mean to come to San Jose and to not be going to a house or where I live is going to be weird. And I don't know really what to expect. I'm assuming there will be people who will be happy/excited to see me and there will be people who will not be happy. I couldn't tell you. I hope that people are just respectful. I know that probably won't be the case. But I think it will be interesting. It will be a very different experience for me."
On leaving San Jose:
"It was difficult. I was there for four years, and a lot of those guys I was with for a long time. Not only that, but I've made a lot of friends in San Jose off the soccer field. So that was the hardest part, leaving the personalities. It was difficult to go to Germany, fairly easy for me to come to LA because it's home. But San Jose will obviously always have a special place in my heart because it's really where I became a soccer player, a real soccer player."
On what it will be like if his old fans boo him:
"I can't really say because I haven't experienced it yet. I don't know how I'm going to react or how they're going to react. But my initial thought would be that I'm not going to pretend that it didn't bother me. Of course it would bother me because those are people that I feel like, you gain this relationship with these people, it's pretty intimate whether you like it or not. Being there for four years, you're sharing something with them. So for people to turn around and boo will be a little disappointing, but I understand. Some of these people have been around since the old Earthquakes days. So they root for the team, they're not rooting for the players. So if someone leaves them, especially to go to a rival, it's understandable. I hope they respect me at least."
On what he would say to San Jose fans:
"I almost feel like I would be willing to just sit down and talk to people because I don't think that people truly understand it and I think people feel like it's a soccer move...like San Jose wasn't good enough for me so I had to play for the Galaxy. And it had absolutely nothing to do with that and I would hope that people realize that. But some people won't and that's just the way it is."
On his emotions facing the Quakes in San Jose rather than LA:
"It will be a lot different. The game in LA is not as bad because there are only about 20 people [from San Jose] there. Granted, they're more of the diehard San Jose people. But it was just different because it's in front of your home crowd. This is going to be a lot different. I have no idea what the crowd is going to be like. I hope it's a good crowd, I assume it will be. I just hope it will be a fun game. I think it will be another great game. It's just going to be weird for me to wear the other jersey and be in the other locker room."
On looking forward to coming to San Jose:
"I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited to go see my friends first of all and to hang out with some of the guys I haven't got to hang out with a lot. I didn't get to see a lot of those guys the first game because they were injured. That will be exciting. I love playing in Spartan. I know it will be different and it won't be the same as playing with the Quakes, but I'm looking forward to it."
On San Jose fans thoughts about Landon's decision:
"I mean I'm not naïve and I'm not stupid and I understand the way that everything was probably perceived by them, but I think more telling than that is if you ask Dom, if you ask Alexi, if you ask any of the players if they understand and if they are happy for me. They know that I wasn't intending to screw anyone or intending to leave anyone bitter at me. It's just a life decision that I wanted to make. I know they're all very happy for me, and I think those are people who really know me. So that's more telling."
On why he wants to be in LA:
"There are a hundred reasons for me personally. For me it was pretty clear and a pretty easy decision. Believe me, when that was made clear to me, there was probably no one happier than I was and I can't even begin to tell you. A lot of the good things about LA are good things in San Jose-the weather, just being in California, being close to my family. This is where I'm from and this is where I've lived and this is where I want to be. My girlfriend's here, my family's here, the sun, the beach. It's a good life. I realize I'm fortunate, but I'm just happy that I get to be here really."
On the path to ending up in LA from San Jose:
"I wouldn't use the word accidental. It was made clear to me before I left that at some point, whether that was six months, two years or five years, that the MLS would like to have me back. I also made it clear that I would like to be back at some point. I knew in my head that first of all it was difficult for us, all the players, to constantly never know what was going in San Jose. I took the risk of buying a house, and I had to sell it right away, but a lot of guys couldn't do that because you never know what's going to happen. Even this year you hear rumors going around so you just never know. That uncertainty played a big part. And when I left I knew that when I came back to MLS I was hoping that I could be in LA. When it was made clear to me that that could become possible then it was very easy for me. I'm not going to pretend to say that I meant to go to San Jose all along and that I would always be in San Jose and end my career in San Jose. I'm honest. I was hoping that at some point I would be back in LA. The fact that it happened this quickly was, I wouldn't say accidental. It was kind of unfortunate because it means that I wasn't playing well in Germany and things weren't going well so it kind of sucked there. But at the end of the day I'm glad it worked out the way it did."
On his surprise at the Quakes fans' reaction to his move:
"I am surprised. But it's a good thing, right? It's people caring about their team. I think 10 years ago people would not have cared, but now people they care. And that's not a bad thing. So I would like everything to be great and rosy and for everyone to be nice, but I'm realistic and I understand that these people do care about their team. I can handle it for sure. I just hope there's some level of respect for what I've done there and given there and that people appreciate it."
On his move to Los Angeles and the outside perception of it:
"Unfortunately I think that's the way the league has to be run right now. I'm a bigger advocate than any on getting more owners who have say in what happens. I think the new owners that come in do have the say. But we need to get to a point where every team has its own owner and every team has an owner that gets to make decisions. I don't even want to use Tony Amanpour's name, but if he had come along and really bought the team, he probably would have a lot more say in what happens. He could say, 'You know what, I just invested a bunch of money. Landon's not going to LA.' Then maybe that holds true. Who knows? At the same time, just in my situation I think the fans think that it hurts the credibility [of the league]. LA gave up the best forward in this league to get me. So it's not like all of a sudden I came back and they didn't lose anything. They lost their leading goal scorer for the last three years. So I think they were at least a little bit careful about how they did it."
On comparing the San Jose and Los Angeles coaches:
"Dominic played as a professional, I don't think Steve played as a professional so there's a little bit of a different mind set, a different mentality. And Dominic's a little bit younger. Steve's got kind of like a Latin-type style of coaching where Dom kind of took from more of the Frank Yallop English style. But they're pretty similar. They're very receptive to players and they talk to the players and they're involved in what's going on. Some coaches are almost dictators and say this is the way it goes, but they both listen to their players as coaches and they both understand the game. They're not too different."
On advantages for the Quakes knowing how to play against him:
"Absolutely. I hope I have some for them against them as well. They know me and depending on who starts and who plays in the back, some of those guys have seen me for four years. They know exactly how I play and what I like to do, what I don't like happening. That's definitely an advantage for them. That just means I have to be smarter and better and make something happen."