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FACE TO FACE: Landon Donovan
December 28th, 2001 12AM

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In 2001, Landon Donovan went from young phenom to professional star by helping the USA qualify for the 2002 World Cup and playing a vital role in San Jose's capture of the MLS title.

The Facts

Born: March 4, 1982, in Ontario, Calif.

Hometown: Redlands, Calif.

Pro clubs: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 2001-present, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) 1999-2001. USA: 8 caps, 1 goal. U-20 World Cup: 2001. Olympics: 2000. U-17 World Cup: 1999.

Landon's Dream Team

  • Oliver Kahn (Germany)
  • Cafu (Brazil)
  • Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)
  • Paolo Maldini (Italy)
  • Lothar Matthaeus (Germany)
  • Edgar Davids (Netherlands)
  • David Beckham (England)
  • Zinedine Zidane (France)
  • Ryan Giggs (Wales)
  • Roberto Baggio (Italy)
  • Dennis Bergkamp (Netherlands)

My First ...

Job: A paper route my freshman year of high school.

Car: The 2001 BMW 325i I have now.

Cap: I was not expecting to go in [Oct. 25, 2000 vs. Mexico] but entered in the 32nd minute. It was good timing when I scored. That was a big turning point in my young career. Most of it was Clint Mathis' work.

Landon's Favorites

Musical Artist: Boys II Men.

Actor: Jim Carrey.

Actress: Mira Sorvino.

Film: "Field Of Dreams."

Book: "Hearts in Atlantis" by Stephen King.

Food: Crab.

Drink: Pink lemonade.

Soccer Player: Roberto Baggio.

Vacation Spot: Barbados.

Place to live: Utah in the winter. Southern California in the summer.

Hobbies: PlayStation, golf, spending time with my family.

Pregame activity: Sleeping.

Postgame activity: Celebrating.

People In My Life

Family: Most important thing in the world. If everything ended tomorrow and my family was still there, I'd be the happiest man alive.

Friends: Everybody needs them. They're just as important as family, but in different ways.

San Jose teammates: Great. We have a good time on and off the field.

Referees: They have a tougher job than players. They have to keep everyone happy and keep the game under control. They're human, and they make mistakes, just like we do. The best referees are the ones who are consistent.

Fans: I love fans in America. I've been fortunate to be thrown right into the good years of U.S. soccer. San Jose fans are, by far, the best in the country. They're so loud. I love them.

Frank Yallop: Fantastic. One of the best coaches I've ever had. I'm blessed that I came to San Jose and he was our coach. He's very cooperative and doesn't keep anything from the players. He's very honest and open about everything.

Bruce Arena: Great. Through the last couple of games, before the Jamaica game, there was a lot of adversity and not much going right. That's the time when you need a coach to instill confidence in the team and let you know everything is fine. He kept everything fine and got us through.

Heroes: Wayne Gretzky, Dario Brose, Magic Johnson. n

My View On ...

Germany: When I went, I was young and naive. I didn't know what to expect. I think if I went back now, it would be a lot better for me.

San Jose: Awesome. The weather is second to none. It's a good town. There's a lot going on. It's a fun place to be.

Money: Overrated. Obviously, to some extent, it's important. But I think my family will tell you that it's very unimportant to me.

Qualifiers: Toughest games I've ever played in. There is an unreal atmosphere, and it's extremely exciting. There is a lot of pressure, and that's what it's all about.

World Cup 2002: I hope I go. I really want to see the U.S. succeed.

Future: I just want to be happy. Whether that be playing soccer here or somewhere else. If not playing soccer, then I just want to happy

Interview by Soccer America Assistant Editor Bryan Alvarez

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