It's official: Landon Donovan is returning to professional soccer.
The 34-year-old MLS legend, who retired after a storied career in 2014 following his record sixth MLS Cup, has signed with the LA Galaxy as an MLS free agent for the remainder of the 2016 season, the club and player announced on Thursday.
He will be available for selection for Sunday's match against Orlando City on FS1 and FOX Deportes (4 pm ET), donning jersey number 26.
In a Facebook post published on Thursday, he explained that injuries to several Galaxy players, as well as the departure of midfielder Nigel de Jong, led to his decision to return to help the club for the stretch run of the campaign. The Galaxy currently sit in third place in the Western Conference on 44 points with six matches left in the regular season.
"I care so deeply about the Galaxy organization, and I believe I could help in a small way to aid the team in its quest for a 6th MLS championship," Donovan wrote. "Further, the opportunity to have my son Talon on the field with me after a game was a feeling that I would never be able to replicate.
"I then had a candid conversation with Bruce Arena and we began down the path of deciding whether this made sense," Donovan continued. "We both agreed that if this was going to happen, the expectations would be minimal and he would use me in situations that made sense for the team. I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with my family and close friends over the past several days, and we all agreed that this would be a wonderful opportunity and a win-win situation for everyone."
Donovan, a Southern California native, has played 14 seasons in MLS. He started with the San Jose Earthquakes (2001-04) before moving to the Galaxy in 2005, staying with LA until he hung up his boots in 2014.
He returns as the all-time MLS leader in regular season goals (144) and assists (136), playoff goals (25) and he's tied for most playoff assists (14). An MLS MVP in 2009 and an MLS Cup MVP in 2003 and 2011, Donovan is a seven-time MLS Best XI honoree, and won the MLS Golden Boot in 2008.
In addition to playing in MLS, Donovan has also played in Germany, for Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, and in two short-term stints in England with Everton.
With the US national team, Donovan has earned 157 caps, second behind Cobi Jones, and is the all-time leader in goals scored for the USMNT, with 57. He played in three World Cups, helped the US to second place in the 2009 Confederations Cup, and won four CONCACAF Gold Cups.