Landon Donovan already knows he’s going to cry when he finishes the last game of his career. Whether this turns out to be the second-leg of the MLS Cup Western Conference final against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 30, or the MLS Cup final -- which would be at StubHub Center in LA if Donovan and the Galaxy get past the Sounders -- on Dec. 7, remains to be seen. Regardless of when it happens, Donovan tells USA Today’s Mike Foss that there will definitely be tears.
During the lengthy interview, the USA’s all-time leader in goals and assists also opens up about his relationship with the sport he loves, his travails in Germany as a 17-year-old with Bayer Leverkusen, and the future of team USA, now that he has already played his final international game.
“I’ve chosen to live my life a little bit differently than most athletes do,” Donovan says. “I put soccer in its relevant place. It’s exciting, it’s inspiring, it’s emotional, it’s entertaining, but really, there are lot more things that go on in life that are more important.” He adds: “I think we have a problem in our society where what we do becomes who we are. I don’t believe that, and I don’t follow that way of thinking.”
Regarding the future of the men’s national team, the 32-year-old feels less certain. “I feel at peace with the national team as it pertains to me,” he says. “I worry about the future of it. I’m hopeful that things will turn out well, but I do worry sometimes that the future doesn’t look as bright as it could. Long term, we are doing the right things to build soccer in this country, but the intermediate future is a little less bright.” Pressed further, Donovan said: "We need to continue to find and develop good leaders. That has always been the key since I came into the national team. The successful teams always had good leaders, and I think there is a little bit of that missing now, and I worry about that going forward.”
When all is finally said and done, “I hope people know how much I cared,” he says, adding: “I haven’t always comes across as someone who cares publicly, but I think people see how much I care when I play.”