Landon Donovan takes leadership role in new San Diego USL expansion team

Landon Donovan - July 2015

Landon Donovan is set to take his talents to the front office.

The United Soccer League (USL) announced Thursday that it has awarded a USL Championship franchise in San Diego to Sacramento Republic FC co-founder and former president Warren Smith. And after a glittering playing career, Donovan will be joining Smith and the new San Diego team as Executive VP for Soccer Operations.

Per a team release, Donovan will oversee operations and will influence the club's style of play, manage player identification and oversee on-field performance.

“I chose San Diego as my home and have personally been focused on bringing professional soccer to the community,” said Donovan in a statement. “Thanks to Warren, USL and our incredible team, that dream has become reality. I am ecstatic to be a part of this talented group and the newest addition to the USL Championship. I’m looking forward to our opening night in Torero Stadium and the stands being filled with smiles, chants and cheers from my fellow residents of America’s Finest City.”

Donovan earned 157 caps for the US national team, good for second all-time, is the team's joint-leading scorer with 57 goals and the sole assist leader with 57.

At the club level, Donovan enjoyed a lengthy and successful playing career in MLS first with the San Jose Earthquakes and then with the LA Galaxy, winning a combined six MLS Cups. He is the league's all-time assist leader with 136 and held the league's all-time scoring record until he was surpassed by Chris Wondolowski on May 18. Prior to the 2015 season, MLS renamed its MVP award — which Donovan won in 2009 — to the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award.

The new San Diego USL Championship team has entered into an agreement with the University of San Diego to play at the university's Torero Stadium. The club will be set to compete in 2021, with the possibility to begin play as soon as 2020.