Major League Soccer names Most Valuable Player award after Landon Donovan

For nearly his entire career, Landon Donovan was the face of Major League Soccer.

Now he’s the face of the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

MLS announced on Thursday that it has named its MVP trophy after Donovan, who retired in December as the league’s all-time leader with 144 goals and 136 assists. During his distinguished 14-year MLS career, the former San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy legend won six MLS Cups, a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and two Supporters’ Shields. Donovan, who also retired as the US national team leader in goals and assists, won the league MVP award in 2009.

As part of the announcement held at an event ahead of Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia, MLS Commissioner Don Garber unveiled the design for the Landon Donovan MVP Award, crafted by Tiffany & Co.

“As a child, soccer was merely an outlet for me -- a way to express myself,” Donovan said in a league statement. “To have this prestigious award named after me is truly unimaginable. Thank you to Commissioner Garber, Major League Soccer and all of the people that have supported me along the way. I am extremely humbled by and proud of this honor.”

The Landon Donovan MVP Award features a Donovan silhouette applied to a sterling silver MLS Crest, which is attached to an ebonized wood base with a sterling silver collar. The trophy stands 12 inches tall, and winners of the award will have their name and club hand-engraved on the collar.

Donovan’s long list of accolades also includes 14 consecutive All-Star selections, two MLS Cup MVP awards, seven MLS Best XI honors, two All-Star Game MVPs and participation in three World Cups.

“Landon Donovan’s commitment to growing the game in North America is unrivaled and his contributions to Major League Soccer are immeasurable,” Garber said in the statement. “When he joined MLS in 2001, he showed other American players that this was his ‘League of Choice.’ His legacy will be forever etched in our league’s history, and we appreciate everything he has accomplished, both on and off the field.”