Commentary

To Landon Donovan: Ave atque Vale!

By Paul Gardner

So Landon Donovan has had his special day ... and I cannot think of anyone involved in soccer in this country who more deserves to be honored in this way.

It has always been a delight to watch Donovan in action (well, OK. I'll make an exception for all that penalty kick rigmarole), just as it has always been interesting to hear his opinions.

I doubt whether the USA has ever produced another player as good as Donovan. Certainly not since 1967, the days of the old North American Soccer League, the date that really marks the beginning of the "modern era" in the U.S. game.

Of course, "produced" is not the right word. It makes the process of nurturing a player sound like a mechanical production line, and the importance and the beauty of Donovan as a player is that he stands out as a living contradiction to all those who see "youth development" as primarily a matter of coaching, of lessons taught and lessons learned … all of it according to the book.

Whichever book might happen to be in vogue, that is. It doesn't matter which one -- all of them bring the stultifying influence of orthodoxy, the impersonality of the production line.

Donovan, somehow, escaped all of that. He was, of course, much too good for it. The soccer background in Donovan's life was zero. If there is such a thing as a soccer gene, then it had been biding its time, invisible for generations in Donovan's ancestors.

The gene, the gift, the talent -- whatever it is -- flowered wondrously in Landon. Everything was immediately right -- from the smooth, light-footed running style, the balance, the body swerves, to the comfort on the ball and on to the more personal qualities of a quick-thinking soccer brain and an instinct for the patterns of the game that has added artistry to the intricacy and the precision of his passing.

His personality has sometimes been hard to fathom. He has occasionally seemed rather prickly, but not overly so. Nobody really expects sports stars to be pillars of rectitude, but Donovan has been better than most. When you look at his extraordinary list of titles, awards and achievements, you're bound to ask yourself whether he's ever allowed whatever personal problems he may have had to affect his game. We know that it has -- that sabbatical that he took -- but by then Donovan was the captain of his soul, the master of his fate, he knew what he needed to do. And he came back as good as ever.

In his younger days -- the troubled time as a teenager in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen -- Donovan had the air of a Lost Boy, puzzled by what was happening to him, needing help and guidance, and not getting it. A discouraging episode, but the strength of Donovan's will was what allowed him to overcome the problems. Years later, with his excellent play for Everton, he thoroughly squelched the canard that he had fled Europe because he wasn't good enough.

* * *

Why would anyone doubt his fortitude, when he went on to become the best we've ever seen? And so we come to the only negative part of this celebration of Donovan. Because one man, one important man, clearly did doubt Donovan's resolve. That man was Jurgen Klinsmann.

His decision to omit Donovan from this year's World Cup roster was a thoroughly squalid snub which cannot be justified by any soccer reasoning. Of course Donovan should have been in Brazil. In the absence of any soccer reason (it is worse; Klinsmann's decision actually flies in the face of soccer reasoning) then I have to assume that personal factors clouded Klinsmann's judgment. And that is not the way that a coach should be operating.

Having made an utterly dreadful decision, Klinsmann now proves himself not brave enough to admit his error. Just listen to him: "You always make a decision based on what you see in that specific moment in time. In that moment in May the picture for us was very clear and we were 100 percent behind the decision we made. I wouldn't make any other decision, and we proved that point in Brazil."

For undiluted hogwash, that's quite a performance. So you never take a player's record into consideration? (Something that would interest Italy's Enzo Bearzot, for one. He took Paolo Rossi -- coming straight from serving a long suspension -- and it was Rossi's goals that won the 1982 World Cup for Italy).

There is confusion, too, in the pronouns Klinsmann uses. First, it is the decision "we" made, but the final sentence introduces "I" as the decision maker. But it is the parting shot that exposes Klinsmann's departure from reality. Back comes the "we" pronoun (maybe Klinsmann is by now convinced that the royal "we" suits him best): "... we proved that point in Brazil."

Klinsmann proved nothing in Brazil. His team, artificially padded with its posse of supposedly superior pseudo-Americans, did no better than Bob Bradley's team in 2010, and not as well as Bruce Arena's team in 2002.

That's all history, but evidently history that Klinsmann knows still needs to be explained.

So, at precisely the moment when he should be keeping quiet about his lack of judgment -- at a precious moment that should belong to Donovan and his glittering career -- at exactly that moment, Klinsmann chooses to do what? To criticize Donovan.

Talking of Donovan's superb career, Klinsmann told ESPN "I think it could have gone even further than that ... as a coach, you always want to see a player that drives for his 100 percent ... I wished in a certain way he could have done a bit more here and a bit more there."

Let's not be in any doubt about this. Klinsmann is accusing Donovan of lacking ambition, of not working hard enough to constantly improve his game. Well, that's Klinsmann for you. He has told us before how hard it was for him, how hard he had to work on his game ... so, apparently, he cannot bear the thought of a player who might have attained super-star status without all the sweat and grind that Klinsmann tells us of.

Klinsmann is fully entitled to that rather self-glorifying opinion. But, surely, he ought to know enough to keep those thoughts to himself, to stifle his evident problem with Donovan being widely hailed for the true star that he is. A star who has done massively more for the American game than Klinsman will ever do.

This was Donovan's shining hour. Klinsmann should have kept his mouth shut. For him to imagine that it was OK to contaminate the tributes with his petty carpings reveals an unpleasantly high degree of egotism.

* * *

But the sour words of Klinsmann are no way to close this topic. I began with the beauty of Donovan's play, and that's a good way to close matters. Trying to recall a Donovan highlight is a bit perplexing when you're dealing with a player who always produced top level soccer. I can choose one episode -- but not for the obvious reason. That climactic goal against Algeria in 2010. I'm not choosing it because it was a vital World Cup goal, or because it shot the USA to the top of its group. I choose it because it was so perfectly, so smoothly, so beautifully executed. Everything neat and precise and quick, none of it betraying any nerves or frantic hurry, all of it imbued with the elegance and grace that only soccer's best players exhibit. The artistry of a master-craftsman. What we had come to expect from Landon Donovan.

For that -- so easy to say, so beautiful to watch, but so hard to achieve -- let me add just one more heart-felt thank you to Landon Donovan. The best.

56 comments about "To Landon Donovan: Ave atque Vale! ".
  1. Stephen Brookfield, October 12, 2014 at 9:26 a.m.

    Well said Paul. i often disagree with you (!) so it's really nice to say that for me you were spot on. Landon did it his way & I could never understood all the carping about a relatively short sabbatical. He'd been the face of US soccer for over a decade, gone to Europe on the off season, taken on countless media commitments & captained the national team. Of course he needed a break to rediscover his passion. In the future it'll be Landon who's remembered for his football talent and personal grace in handling himself, not the classless, petty comments of Klinsmann..

  2. Andres Yturralde, October 12, 2014 at 9:58 a.m.

    This is beautiful stuff, PG. Whatever you've been doing--keep doing it! (And thanks for a couple of new leads: "rigmarole" and "ave atque vale"!!)

  3. Vic Flegel, October 12, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.

    Thank you Paul,This is the best article,you've written.

  4. Thomas Hosier, October 12, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.

    Personal Paul I believe you diminished the value of your tribute to Donovan in this piece by going after Klinsman ... you should have saved your Klinsman rant for another piece ... just sayin'

  5. Ginger Peeler, October 12, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.

    Klinsmann would have been so much smarter if he had just praised Donovan and let it go at that. Instead, he felt threatened by the outpouring of love and respect for Donovan so he had to justify his decision. Again.
    Unfortunately, Klinsmann seems to follow the German stereotype of the staid, serious, somewhat bereft of emotion human being. So when Landon spoke to the press about his performance as he has aged...where he was talking about how he compensates for his body's changes as he practices and plays, Klinsmnn read it as an admission of weakness. JK totally failed to understand where LD was coming from. And LD, in turn, failed to really understand how JK would receive his words. A shame, really, that they never got on the same page. And Klnsmann's comments only prove that he STILL doesn't get Donovan! Bless you, Landon, for giving us so much over the years, for what you have done for MY favorite sport, and what you have done for our country.

  6. Edgar Soudek, October 12, 2014 at 10:38 a.m.

    Paul Gardner - a beautifully written, heartfelt article; nobody could have said it better than that!
    And what you said about Klinsdumbmann: far too nice and decent - that jerk should resign, and go back to the Schwarzwald...

  7. Claudio Garcia chamorro, October 12, 2014 at 10:55 a.m.

    Certainly Klins has personal issues with Landon.
    Landon has always showned his abilities.
    Klins makes the mistake of not taking Landon to Brasil simply because he assumed that his decision would prove everyone wrong!
    But we ALL know that regardless as to what JK says, said or will say NOONE gives a * - Landon would have done much better than any other player representing the USA in Brasil - as he had lots to prove to himself as a player and the audience that had doubts b/c of all the crap JK has said.
    For Landon to say that JK told him on the side after his final second of representing the USA on the side lines "I should have taken you to Brasil" shows the pathetic mind of a man who some people here (USA) think that his words is law in the USA Soccer World.
    Simply it isn't !
    History will dictate that this arrogant weak looking German AH simply blew it and that the title of Mr. Hypocracy is attached for ever with him by not taking Landon to Brasil's WC, and is weak enough today to say that WE ( I assumed his technical Staff) did not see it right to bring him to Brasil !
    To Landon Donovan - we thank you, and are eternally grateful for all you have done for our domestic soccer !
    You will forever be cherished !
    Something very few could and will say about JK.

  8. Paul Castillo, October 12, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.

    Will Donavon's career continually be asterisked by his Brazil WC omission? MOVE ON. Give him his due as he's earned it. Be sure to spell his name correctly on the back of the gold watch and let him go do what he's been wanting to do for a while ... not think about soccer.

  9. R2 Dad, October 12, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.

    Nice tribute. However, this is not over. With LD interested in coaching U17s and JK (supposedly with an open door left open) the one who pulls those strings, they will continue this awkward square dance. I actually think JK should station LD in Europe, visiting the Americans there, making sure they acclimatize, get the resources they need, settle in properly. Some clubs have personnel to do this and some do not, so this is where LD could have the greatest impact. This aspect is where LD struggled the most and might have the most interest in helping out (while he gets his coaching badges).

  10. Ginger Peeler, October 12, 2014 at 11:46 a.m.

    R2 Dad...brilliant idea! I've read comments from some of our other players abroad about their struggles to acclimate to a foreign country, club, and customs. They noted the same lack of support. Who better than Landon who's been there, done that, as our ambassador to provide the support and encouragement that a lot of these kids need! With his knowledge and prestige, he'd be sure to provide comfort and reassurance to them. You're a genius! How do we start a petition?

  11. Thomas Brannan, October 12, 2014 at 12:33 p.m.

    Of course Donovan could have and would have done more if Klinsman would have taken him to the WC. You didn't think about that when you said what you said did you JK. When Donovan makes a pass it is right there. In Ecuador v USA there were a lot of young players out there. Donovan didn't lack a step. Here's a question with Klinsman and his German-Americans. If the USA wins the WC with all German-Americans does that equal success? People still don't address the problem. It is all about development. Paul, I like you, but coaching does matter. Maybe Best, Pele, Cruyff, Messi, et. al. don't need it or that much of it but others do.
    Excellent article Paul. Been reading SA since it was a tabloid delivered to the mail box.

  12. Walt Pericciuoli, October 12, 2014 at 1:24 p.m.

    Excellent article Paul. I agree 100%. For the most part, I have been in Klinsi's camp and I believe in what he is trying to do. Increase depth of the National Pool and develop young players, but he was dead wrong about his decision not to include Donovan on the WC roster. Donovan's skills were and are still enough to have provided the spark and leadership that was missing on the field at the WC, not to mention, a pretty decent replacement for Altidore.

  13. Pat Sharp, October 12, 2014 at 1:36 p.m.

    I totally agree with all you said, Paul. I do sometimes disagree with your articles, but this one is "spot on"! Thank you for saying publicly what so many of us feel!

  14. Michael Borga, October 12, 2014 at 2:06 p.m.

    I agree with Walt!

  15. F. Kirk Malloy, October 12, 2014 at 3:08 p.m.

    I've been a big fan of JK since day 1, and net-net he is raising the US program - much improved control and quality of play, less reliance on strong will (that US will ALWAYS have) and more on skill, speed, movement, and the overall program is beginning place value on quality of player versus quality of athlete. Again, net-net, a real positive. BUT...he owes LD a PUBLIC apology. To criticize LD, even somewhat subtly, the week of his final USMNT send-off game was beyond classless and beneath the JK's position as head coach. His greeting of LD as he left the field showed some remorse, but what he said there was private, the criticism was public. JK, do the right thing and PUBLICLY thank LD for all he's done as the BEST USMNT player yet.

  16. BJ Genovese, October 12, 2014 at 3:32 p.m.

    No worries all... we still have Jonathan Klinsman making every National team camp even right after his public display of charactor. All is well... all is well. Let the nepotism begin again...

  17. Gonzalo Munevar, October 12, 2014 at 3:54 p.m.

    Beautifully said.

  18. Brian Something, October 12, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.

    Donovan has contributed far more to US Soccer than the disrespectful egomaniac of a coach we have ever will. Thanks LD.

  19. Kathleen Roggen, October 12, 2014 at 6:54 p.m.

    Dear Claudio Garcia Chamorro
    Donovan said: "He told me he should have taken me to Brazil ... no I'm just kidding." So, JK did NOT say that he should have brought him to the WC. Or have I misunderstood you?

    Paul Castillo, well said!

  20. Jack Waterbury, October 12, 2014 at 6:58 p.m.

    LD was the right player at the right time. He probably scared JK with his abilities and vision. It would behoove USSFA to put him in charge of the u14-17 development program. He has sped, skills and, above all, he has been in there!
    His play was fluid, intuitive and most often right.

  21. Kathleen Roggen, October 12, 2014 at 7:19 p.m.

    Klinsmann gave also accolades: “Landon had a tremendous career and he deserves that farewell night and all the compliments on your end as well."
    Though he has the right to his opinion and his criticism was not wrong, I agree JK should have kept it to him.
    At a farewell you should especially underline the positive things.

  22. A douglas Stone, October 12, 2014 at 10:48 p.m.

    Thank you Paul for your strong endorsement of Landon. I have been supremely frustrated by the acceptance of the claim by many the Klinsmann's decisions were vindicated in Brazil. First, and embarrassingly, Klinsmann could have taken all of the young players he did and still taken Landon, simply by omitting Brad Davis, a 32 your old with one tenth the stature and track record of LD. Second, the US was exposed as unable to control the ball minimally through most of the Belgium game and only avoided a clear trouncing by Howard's heroics (and some poor finishing by Belgium). And when Michael Bradly mistrapped and failed to kill the game against Portugal it crossed my mind that Donovan would have had the touch to make that play. Finally, Julian Green's great strike in OT which supposedly vindicated Klinsi's choice of him over LD was clearly a scuffed mis-hit which fate decreed would knuckle into the corner - not an indication of a prodigy in the making. In fact Green looked totally overmatched in the run-up games and still isn't making much progress. Anyone who thinks there was any soccer justification for leaving LD off the US WC squad just doesn't know soccer. It was a statement by JK that he is in charge, he didn't like LD's sabbatical, and US soccer is moving on. But we might have done better in Brazil if he hadn't given in to his ego.

  23. Eric Young, October 12, 2014 at 11:21 p.m.

    Amen brother. I join the long line of praise for this column. I used to have a lot of respect and hope about Klinsmann. But his comments and behavior over these past months has shattered any decent opinion of him. I am already ready to see him move on.

    As to DONOVAN. He is the sort of player that will grow in accomplishment and respect in the years to come. He achieved a level that few get to enjoy. In 10, 20, maybe 30 years from now--I will be one of those that get to say, "I saw Donovan play."

    Along with that, I hope now that someday I will be able to say, "I saw Klinsmann GO."

  24. Kent James, October 13, 2014 at 12:01 a.m.

    Paul, great column. You nailed it. Ginger, I think you nailed JK's problem with LD; Donovan speaks frankly of adjustments he makes to compensate for the aging process, and JK sees an admission of (and acceptance of) decline; I can certainly imagine JK saying "you must simply work harder to compensate for the loss", whereas I see LD as someone who is in touch with who he is to adjust his game (less blazing speed, more crafty passes). JK was too rigid to accept that there are other ways to play good soccer than his way.

  25. Kent James, October 13, 2014 at 12:07 a.m.

    Soccer America, how about updating your comments software so that those of us who take the time to comment can be notified when other comments are posted, can reply to specific comments, and can indicate when we agree with a comment, so we can have a more meaningful dialogue? For example, I really like the comments made by Ginger, Walt, A Douglas Stone (and many others) but to say so individually is quite cumbersome. I think there are many options out there, and there have been many improvements to internet interactions since you guys set these comments sections up. You need to step up your game in the modern era!

  26. Kathleen Roggen, October 13, 2014 at 12:37 a.m.

    Kent James, that is a good idea. Thank you.

  27. Tim Schum, October 13, 2014 at 9:19 a.m.

    Paul: Great column.

    LD's tongue-in-cheek comment when asked what occurred on his leaving the field at Hartford was priceless.

    But it also said a lot about the two men. Apparently in JK's world there is little time for the "gotcha moment(s)." LD seems to have achieved what a lot of people strive to achieve:balance in his life.

    Some years ago when queried about a certain coach's personality, one of his players summarized, "He's got a cleat [football] for a brain." Perhaps JK could reflect on such a comment if it were to be attributed to himself.

    One cannot dismiss JK's pedigree. Also his approach to coaching seems to many to be quite progressive. He seems open to any number of non-traditional approaches in terms of how the team is organized both on and off the field.

    But "The Decision [as it may come to be known] was summarized in one comment I read: If we had a roster of players that were better than LD, then we should have won the World Cup!

    Everyone is entitled to a few mistakes in judgement. In this case, JK made a major mistake in judgement both in terms of player evaluation and, perhaps more importantly, in terms of public relations.

    Perhaps, perhaps he can find a means to openly admit to his error in judgement. Otherwise it will forever cloud his time with our National Team.

    Swallow hard JK, swallow hard!

  28. Walt Pericciuoli, October 13, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.

    Agree with Tim. I don't think we should condemn JK for this poor decision. I'm pretty sure we would not have won the WC if we had Donovan. Most of the other choices Klinsi has made have been right on. He has a fresh approach and is certainly not afraid to bring in different players. He has opened our eyes to many new young players that could spell a bright future for us. I think he was wrong for not taking Donovan, but I'm still in his corner.

  29. Nalin Carney, October 13, 2014 at 10:26 a.m.

    NICE ARTICLE PAUL! Lets move on to removing JK from the national team picture. His attitude is not suitable...his quest for dual nationals is off the chart! (and I realize everyone is out there looking for the best talent) But lets focus here. I also beleive we need an american coach for the american team Thanks, Nalin PS When can I look for the JK rant that you are really good at ? ? ?

  30. Kent James, October 13, 2014 at 10:39 a.m.

    Tim, great comment. I particularly like the "if we had a team of players better than Landon Donovan we should have won the cup"--brilliant!

  31. Thomas Brannan, October 13, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.

    1) Glad to see someone with the profile of Tim Schum come out and make a statement. We need more of that. More than any other column, by anyone, that I can remember this one has more comments and is more in agreement. If Donovan is the best American soccer player ever, think of what it would be like if someone would have left Cruyff, Beckenbauer off a WC team. JK is getting off easy.

  32. William Heiden, October 13, 2014 at 11:29 a.m.

    Keep bashing Jurgen Klinsmann but remember Player rule #1 ; Don't P.O. the Coach......

  33. David V, October 13, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.

    Two Comments: 1) problem of Landon Donovan; 2) Problem of JK
    ...
    Landon's only problem is he never got a cool one-name soccer name, for years, it begged to be "Lando" but no one was ever clever enough to come up with that, or make it stick. Other than that, here's to Lando, a good guy who wasn't quite world class, but one of the closest guys who ever got there in the USA. ....
    JK... his problem, fire him, he's a two-faced knucklehead ... You need to realize that JK should be loathed as much as the English influence on US soccer should be loathed (http://www.usyouthfutsal.com/home/685554.html)

    Now that that's done, let's here it for Lando, US Soccer icon.

  34. Vince Leone, October 13, 2014 at 1:11 p.m.

    A minor complaint: LD is probably the best U.S.-born player to play for the U.S., but he is definitely not the best U.S.-born player. That honor falls to Giuseppe Rossi.

  35. Vince Leone, October 13, 2014 at 1:14 p.m.

    I watched several of LD's appearances for Everton, and "excellent" is not how I would describe them. He clearly held his own on the field, but that's about it.

  36. Vince Leone, October 13, 2014 at 1:24 p.m.

    JK's recent comments might be tactless because of their timing, but I don't understand the objection to his clear meaning--The standards for U.S. players have to be higher. How can anyone argue with that? He was clearly not talking only of LD when he said " you always want to see a player that drives for his 100 percent," and I bet there are many aspiring players who got the point.

  37. Vince Leone, October 13, 2014 at 2:51 p.m.

    Ric: Rossi is languishing because of injury, not lack of talent. I watched him play many times for Villareal (La Liga) before his injury problems began, and I can tell you without qualification that he was far better than LD.

  38. Vince Leone, October 13, 2014 at 5 p.m.

    Sorry to belabor this digression, but before Rossi got injured last season, he was the leading scorer in Serie A. It's pretty hard to imagine saying that about LD. In fact, you could point to Rossi as an example of the ambition and commitment that JK is trying to foster.

  39. Thomas Malone, October 13, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.

    Well said, Paul, about both LD and JK. This last reaction by JK just proves that it was all personal for him. And when personal judgments like that cloud your professional decisions, you're not acting like a professional. So be it. Thanks, Landon, for so many years of great soccer. You're a true American soccer hero, and Lord knows we don't have very many of those.

  40. Santiago 1314, October 13, 2014 at 6:53 p.m.

    I'm Still waiting on that Apology !?!?!? And Reasons to get rid of JK least we forget !!! **RE-Post from September 3, 2014 at 11:21 p.m. I liked to hear that JK agrees with ME… we Could have//SHOULD HAVE, at Least, gone to the Semi-Finals in Brazil*** RE-POST,,,commented on: July 7, 2014 at 12:32 a.m…”” The "IFs" DO matter, "IF" you are Spending MILLIONS of Dollars on Games and Training Camps and paying a Coach MILLIONS of Dollars, and he Drops People off the Team because of "Control" Issues (Boyd, Donovan, E. Johnson)...Then we get Wondo, instead of Eddie or Landon sitting on the 6, for an easy Tap-In...Wondo is the Epitome of "The Peter Principle"(He rose to the Level of his Incompetency ) Not really his Fault, why do you think he was so easily Traded by Dynamo, We saw him miss those chances, Year, After Year, AFTER YEAR!!!...TICOS did do Better than USA, Never said they didn't... Shows what a Coach, who takes His Inferior Talent, and BELIEVES THAT HE CAN WIN, Can instill In His Players... With the Poor Quality(Mundane, Average ability )of players in this World Cup, Even Costa Rica, could have Won It.. What "IF"JK had not taken the "Spunk" out of Dempsey, by Isolating him to the Lone Ranger Forward, (Something Dempsey is not suited to; Physically or Psychologically)...JK F@cked up Dempsey's Mindset and He went "Houdini " as you so aptly Described it... But again, those of us who have watched Clint, since he was 12, could have told you how to Shut Him Down...Don't let him see the ball, and he will Pout and Shut Down, and Become Disinterested... Shame, that it was our Own MILLION dollar Coach that did it to him... Waste of a Truly Gifted Talent.. All because JK didn't bring a SUB for Jozy, Probably because he was afraid that Jozy(another Pouter) Would have had his "Feelings" Hurt... THE "IFs" Do Matter, "IF" you could have snuck in The Backdoor, and Won a World Cup, devoid of Quality... Costa Rica almost did it with a "HIGH SCHOOL" Offside Trap... But JK couldn't even anticipate that Lukaku was going to run over Besler...2 days before the game, I was posting,in here, that Brooks, should start over Besler... “” *** I am Just waiting for the Apology, from JK, for Leaving off Donovan and Boyd, Then I will Totally Forgive him… GOOD GAME U.S.A...WE BELIEVE THAT WE CAN WIN!!!!

  41. Santiago 1314, October 13, 2014 at 6:55 p.m.

    Oh, And don't forget this Reason also,,,**Re-Post from; July 10, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.
    Quote from Jurgen Klinsmann in article by Randy Harvey of the Houston Chronicle Sports..7/10/14 pgC1&3….”It makes them feel accountable, not just walk away with a bad performance and nothing happens,” he said. “If you have a bad performance, then people should approach you and tell you that, to make sure that next game is not bad anymore and you step it up.”… The Article is about the National Humiliation that Brazil feels and How (THE USA PLAYERS) don’t have that kind of pressure…***JURGEN*** FIRST, YOU Parked the Bus In-Front of the Goal(Didn’t BELIEVE USA Could Win)… THEN, YOU Re-Arranged the Chairs on the TITANIC(No Sub for Jozy)…and NOW, YOU are Throwing the Players OUT of the Bus, for the Dogs to Eat…<<< THROW YOURSELF OUT >>>…OH, but Knowing you, You will Take a Helicopter Ride Off the Top of the Bus, so you don’t have to face the Wolves…I was for Keeping You, Hoping you would Learn some Humility…But Asking for Fans to Accost the Players and Frighten them into Better Performance!?!?!?…WHAT AN ARROGANT, JERK, PRICK, You are !!!!...What a Hypocrite!!!…YOU Left Germany because YOU couldn’t take the Magnifying Glass that YOU were under and because YOU liked the anonymity that Athletes have in the USA… NOW YOU WANT TO HAVE THE FANS DO YOUR JOB !!!… <<<< Come on SUNIL… Enough is Enough…GET RID OF HIM!!!! >>>> THIS IS AMERICA!!! and WE BELIEVE WE CAN WIN and WE CAN DO IT OUR WAY… so PISS OFF back to Germany…Oh, They don’t want you their either…!!!

  42. cony konstin, October 13, 2014 at 7:06 p.m.

    First of all thank you LD for sharing your gift. It will be missed but not forgotten. In regards to JK yes it would have been more positive than negative if he would have taken LD to Brazil but it's too late. In regards to the future of football in the USA that is a whole another issue. US Soccer needs radical change if we are ever to become world champions and a soccer nation. At this point of time Soccer in the US is treated like hobby. Soccer in the US needs to become a way of life. We need a revolition in the US. We need 300,000 futsal courts in our inner cities ASAP!! JK, me or my mother can't make miracles. We need magical players to win a world cup. Coaches don't win championships. Players win championships. Coaching is totally overrated. Trust me I have been coaching for 40 years and the truth is will set you free. REVOLUTION is what we need not more politics, $300 cleats, gimmicks and smoke n mirrors. We need a place where kids starting at age 5 can play 7 days a week 3 to 5 hours a day, at no cost, and 365 days year. FUTSAL can be our street version that we are in so need of. Wake up everyone. This revolution is what our kids need. This revolution is what our country needs. Meanwhile it doesn't matter who coaches any team in the US. Ultimately, you can't make chicken soup with chicken @@@@. I am sorry if I have repeated myself everytime I make a remark in SA but that is my mision and I have been preaching this for 40 years. My conviction doesn't allow me to sway. Sorry if I sound like I am ranting but I am not. RADICAL CHANGE IS NEEDED ASAP!!!!!!!

  43. Alvaro Bettucchi, October 13, 2014 at 7:26 p.m.

    If there was anything personal between Donovan the player and Klinsman the coach, Country (America) comes first. Oh!!!!!...I forgot, Klinsman is German!

  44. Allan Lindh, October 13, 2014 at 8:38 p.m.

    Cony Konstin has it right, what we need are little kids in the parks kicking a ball around, starting at age of 5. Instead they stay home and play video games, or watch the NFL on TV. Want to help soccer in this country, buy a #3 ball and take some little kids to the nearest park. And leave them with the ball, and the next day, buy another one, and go back again.

  45. Daniel Clifton, October 13, 2014 at 8:43 p.m.

    I agree with those commenters such as Tim Schum that you don't throw Klinsmann under the bus just because he made the mistake of not taking Donovan to the WC. It is clear now that was a mistake. He isn't going to admit it. He has done some good things for the program. His roster selections for the WC can clearly be criticized, such as failing to select a target forward to back up Altidore. Expecting Dempsey to fill that role was ridiculous. The issue about Donovan that so many people can't get over is one that PG only addresses with a sentence or two. The Europhiles think that the only way to do it is to go to Europe to challenge your mojo as a soccer player in the toughest environment you can. This is obviously Klinsmann's attitude. LD just refused to follow that reasoning and that is why so many Europhiles criticize him relentlessly. I think he should be appreciated for the game he developed playing in MLS. I don't know what the problem is with that. It is LD's life. He admits he had no one to guide him about his experience at Leverkusen. If he had had such a person to mentor him he admits he may have stuck it out instead of "bailing" as he himself said. A couple of people have suggested he could be a great resource for these young guys playing in Europe. I think that is where US Soccer should tap his commitment to help young players develop. He went through that experience. He could help guys like Bobby Wood adjust over there. I loved watching LD play. I will miss him. I know of no other soccer player who was both such a dangerous goal scorer and a dangerous playmaker setting up goals. 57 goals and 58 assists says it all. Show me another International level player with those numbers. Good luck Landon. Thank you for all the fun moments.

  46. Kathleen Roggen, October 13, 2014 at 9:35 p.m.

    Allan and Cony, you are spot on.

  47. cleveland force, October 13, 2014 at 10:01 p.m.

    The greatest Usonian (to borrow the term of a fellow aficionado) soccer writer honouring the greatest Usonian soccer player...a virtual lifetime of enjoyment courtesy of the most beautiful of beautiful activities (not just a 'game').

  48. Kathleen Roggen, October 14, 2014 at 12:44 p.m.

    Sorry to mention, but a few of these comments have cheap shots. I understand that People will be forever mad at KJ and can express it. But some of it is unfair. I add that JK said more positive things to LD: “We wish him only the best and I told him before the game that this door is always open to him,”. This is his team, this is his cycle. He built this team and he’s done so many things for U.S. soccer, so he deserves the biggest crowds and the cheers and we told him before the game tonight, ‘enjoy it.'”

  49. Alex G. Sicre, October 14, 2014 at 1:54 p.m.

    Baloney, Kathleen. There is no valid excuse for leaving Landon Donovan off the the WC team period. He has always been our best American player for both club and country. Sorry Mr. Leone, I think you'll be out voted for this contest, but it is very nice to be proud of your Italian heritage.

  50. cony konstin, October 14, 2014 at 2:38 p.m.

    We need a 21st century master plan for US soccer. Then it must be mandated.

  51. Kathleen Roggen, October 14, 2014 at 2:50 p.m.

    Dear Alex G. Sicre, my post was about HOW people react to the "JK and LD issue". Though I was VERY SLIGHTLY for JK's decision, I understand VERY WELL the majority who was against it.

  52. David V, October 14, 2014 at 7:25 p.m.

    Allan Lindh and Kathleen *you have part of the SOLUTION*.... here is the rest, read the editorial and reader response here... http://www.usyouthfutsal.com/home/685554.html

    ---- if we don't change the culture from the current establishment (Anglophiles, $ they make, etc), then we are going to continue to be a 2nd world football nation... American parents have to be educated not to accept the garbage peddled on them... READ the LINK above

  53. David V, October 14, 2014 at 7:27 p.m.

    cony konstin ... Claudio Reyna, set up the correct one in 2011... will it be followed? again, read this link and abandon the failed (both here and in England) system ... (http://www.usyouthfutsal.com/home/685554.html) JK has the wrong idea, it's very consistent with the flawed system

  54. David V, October 14, 2014 at 7:47 p.m.

    Let's all just stop talking about JK... let's just start talking about his replacement

  55. Kathleen Roggen, October 14, 2014 at 7:51 p.m.

    Thank you David V for the information. Though I did not "have part of the solution". It was Cony and Allan. I only agreed with them.

  56. Bill Kreisher, October 17, 2014 at 2:36 p.m.

    My fav: The 2004 WC nutmeg against Germany. That was truly the moment when I thought, if only briefly, that we could make a run at The Cup. It was majestic, and you could see the fear in the German's eyes for a moment with the sense of purpose that Donovan brought on that run. It was fearless. Great stuff. Thanks for that Landon!!!

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