Landon Donovan will be involved with the World Cup after all, albeit from afar.
ESPN announced on Wednesday that the all-time leading scorer in Major League Soccer and US national team history, controversially left off the US roster for the 2014 World Cup, will contribute to ESPN's coverage of the tournament. Donovan will be based out of ESPN/ABC studios in Los Angeles and will make his first appearance on Wednesday's FIFA World Cup Preview show at 3 pm ET.
“Landon’s a smart guy," US forward Jozy Altidore said when asked about the appointment at the US training session on Wednesday in Brazil. "He knows the game very well. It was always going to happen, right? For him to be a commentator, it’s no problem.”
Donovan becomes the third active MLS player to participate as a studio analyst during the 2014 tournament, joining the New York Red Bulls' Thierry Henry (BBC, England) and the Vancouver Whitecaps' Jay DeMerit (ESPN FC).
“Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup, because he knows the United States team better than anyone, having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, in an ESPN release. “Landon is also one of this country’s biggest sports stars, and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our month-long coverage.”
A veteran of three World Cups and the US' leading scorer with three goals in South Africa, Donovan is expected to contribute to pre-game, halftime, and postgame coverage, as well as SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight and other shows, according to the release.
The LA Galaxy star has previously done studio work for FOX and appeared on ESPN's College Gameday in 2012. He has previously expressed an interest in pursuing broadcast opportunities after his playing career is completed.