Landon Donovan - coaching - 2015 Homegrown Game
USA Today Sports

Donovan confident in coaching abilities, but not interested in pro ranks

DENVER – Nearly nine months have passed since former LA Galaxy and US national team forward Landon Donovan officially announced his retirement from playing, confirming that there wouldn’t be another comeback.

Since then, Donovan has returned to the game, not as a player but as a TV analyst, joining the FOX Sports team in covering the CONCACAF Gold Cup this past summer.

Donovan’s previous retirement stint following the 2014 season showed that he won’t shy away from coaching, either. As a head coach, Donovan led the 2015 MLS Homegrown Team to a 1-1 tie against the Under-20 side of Mexican giants Club América, which the MLSers would later lose 5-4 in a penalty shootout.

It bears the question: Could we see Donovan make a return to the touchline in the future?

“In my ideal world, I would love to coach,” Donovan told attendees of a panel event hosted by the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs earlier this week. “I think it would be enjoyable and I’d do quite well at it.”

But with two sons and roots firmly planted in California, he ruled out coaching at the professional level.

“The reality for me is I’m happy where I live and I don’t want to coach professionally and have to chase a job around,” Donovan continued. “If I do coach, it would be at a younger age and that would probably be more rewarding anyway.”

As a former player and current parent, Donovan has developed his own views on coaching, warning of the pitfalls of parents and coaches pushing today’s youth in the extreme.

Explained Donovan, “I fear with more money, fame and exposure to soccer in this country, we will get to a point where we’re trying too hard. At 11 years old, you don’t know what life holds for you. If you love playing all day, do it. If you don’t and you want to do other things, do other things. I know we all want our kids to be successful, but at what cost. Let’s make sure to allow them to be children and have fun.”

Coaching at some level could certainly be in the cards, but Donovan has other career options in front of him as well. Last week the USMNT icon clarified that he won’t be running for U.S. Soccer president, but would like to do his part in continuing to impact the game in this country.

He doubled down on those statements, hinting that his involvement could include working with youth.

“I’m in the midst of trying to figure out the best way to make the biggest impact on the most number of children,” said Donovan. “While coaching is one way to do it, you can really only impact 15-20 kids at a time. I think I’ll have some more clarity in the coming years.”