Just a few months ago Landon Donovan was contemplating retirement from professional soccer.
Those thoughts were permanently erased on Wednesday when he signed a multi-year deal to remain with the LA Galaxy and likely end his career in MLS.
With his current contract expiring in December, the 31-year-old Donovan turned down multiple overseas offers to continue to add to a legendary 13-year-career in MLS which has seen him become the face of the US top-flight league.
“I'm thrilled to continue my career here with the LA Galaxy," Donovan said in a statement. “This organization has always treated me with the utmost respect and I feel truly blessed that I am able to continue playing here. The opportunity to play with the team I love and work to win championships, in front of wonderful fans while also being close to my family is literally a dream come true.”
Donovan joined MLS on loan from German club Bayer Leverkusen back in 2001 and after four seasons and two MLS Cups with the San Jose Earthquakes (2001, 2003), he joined his hometown LA Galaxy, leading the club to three MLS Cup titles (2005, 2011, 2012).
During his 13 seasons in MLS, Donovan has also done double duty with the US national team and is aiming for his fourth straight World Cup appearance next summer in Brazil. He is already the USMNT's all-time leading scorer with 56 goals amassed over 151 caps.
"We are pleased that Landon has re-signed with the Galaxy,” Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said in a statement. “He is the best player in the history of the game in our country. This signing is instrumental toward our commitment to build a team that can compete for championships year-in and year-out. We look forward to Landon's continued leadership and excellent play as a member of the LA Galaxy.”
July's CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Donovan was elected the tournament MVP, represented Donovan's grand return to the USMNT after nearly a year-long hiatus which coincided with a three-month break asDonovan contemplated his future in the game and potential retirement.
After his extended vacation, which also included a trip to Cambodia, Donovan decided on a return to the Galaxy in March, and although he lost the captain's armband during his absence, his seven goals and seven assists have the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy in second place in the West and just five points from the top spot in MLS.
Donovan is also just four goals away from setting a new all-time scoring record in MLS, a mark which will add to the list of accolades that have earned him the title from many as the best American soccer player of all-time.
“Few players have meant more to this league and this club than Landon Donovan,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said in a statement. “Landon has been a major factor in the growth and sustainability of Major League Soccer and we’re thrilled that he will continue to wear a Galaxy shirt for years to come. Keeping Landon was a major focus for our club and reinforces our desire to acquire and retain the best players from the United States and abroad as we strive to be the premier club in North America.”