[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Landon Donovan was a no-show on the first day of training at the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy's preseason camp, but that was no big deal. Another dozen players were also missing Monday morning on University Field #1 at the Home Depot Center. What was news was Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena's statement that Donovan would definitely return for the 2013 season, his 13th in MLS.
"We've given [Donovan] a little more time off," Arena said. "He's definitely playing this year. We're just working out the return date that makes sense for all of us."
Donovan's future plans had been a matter of speculation for months as the five-time MLS champion stated he wasn't sure if he wanted to continue playing or retire.
Arena said the last few years had taken their toll on Donovan, who twice spent the offseason on loan to English club Everton.
"I think he just needs a little bit more of an extended leave of absence," he said.
Donovan, who has one year left on his current deal with the Galaxy, is not in camp with the U.S. national team also training at the Home Depot Center. His absence means he's unlikely to be recalled for the opening game of the Hexagonal on Feb. 6 at Honduras.
When he announced his training camp roster, U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann said, "He's not at a point yet where he knows what he wants to do."
Donovan turns 31 in March.