Landon Donovan revealed on Tuesday while announcing the MLS roster for the Chipotle Homegrown Game that he’ll begin the process of obtaining his US Soccer coaching license in August.
Donovan will coach the MLS Homegrown team against the Mexico Under-20 national team in the third annual Homegrown Game in San Jose on July 27, the second straight year he’ll lead the Homegrown squad. The matches serve as valuable bench experience for Donovan, who has hinted since retiring after the 2014 season that he’s interested in a career as a coach.
He’ll ramp up his coaching training next month, when he’ll begin the process of obtaining a US Soccer B license.
“I’m still very new in this process, in August I’m taking my first coaching course in Texas, I believe, and I have a lot to learn,” he said in a live Facebook Q&A. “Just in speaking to different people there’s so much more that goes into coaching than you realize. Last year having gone through this process was very interesting for me, because it’s not as simple as just putting out a lineup or picking a team or going through a standard training session. There’s so much that goes into this, both behind the scenes and when you get on the field in an actual game. So it’s a really interesting process for me.”
Donovan said that the main thing he hopes to impart on the roster he’ll lead in San Jose is that playing in the Homegrown game is a solid opportunity. The result won’t mean anything, but the chance to play an international opponent in the middle of high-profile All-Star week is a valuable opportunity for his young group.
The MLS and US national team legend even has a story of his own to illustrate the potential value of All-Star activities. His performance in the 2009 All Star Game against Everton played a key role in securing his loan to the English Premier League club in January 2010, he said.
“What I always say to people is you never know who’s watching,” he said. “I have a story when I went to Everton, I asked Tim Howard, ‘How did this all come about? Why did they want me? Of all the players in the world, why did David Moyes want to bring me in on this loan spell?’ And he said, ‘Honestly, he had been following you for a while and then we played against you in the All-Star Game and that was the cherry on top for him, for David Moyes.’
“Because in an All-Star Game that really didn’t mean anything, a lot of guys go through it -- they don’t want to get hurt, they take it easy, they’re worried about their game on the weekend. But (Moyes) appreciated that I took the game seriously and I gave the same effort that I would in a normal game. He knew that was the type of player he could count on. So I try to pass that message onto these guys. At the end of the day the game doesn’t mean anything as far as results and that, but you never know who’s watching and who’s paying attention. It’s a great opportunity to showcase themselves.”