After stepping away from the game for the second time in 2016, Landon Donovan has decided to return to the professional pitch once again.
Landon Donovan. The man needs no introduction. Arguably the most notable US Men’s National Team history has been out of the limelight for a bit, but now has found himself to be the center of attention in the soccer world, as the American legend has come out of retirement to play for Club Leon of Liga MX.
To say the move comes as a bit of a surprise would be somewhat of an understatement, but not altogether unforeseen. Donovan stepped away from the game the first time prematurely by professional standards for players of his caliber. After a long career in MLS with short stints in Germany and England to go along with his prestigious national team career, Donovan hung up his boots at age 32 following the 2014 season.
It wouldn’t be the end though, as the injury-plagued Los Angeles Galaxy asked the face of their club to return in an effort to help the team overcome their injury woes heading into the postseason in 2016. Donovan played in nine total matches in his return season between the regular season and the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Donovan was then briefly linked to Real Salt Lake as a Designated Player signing. Donovan was willing to sign for RSL as a free agent, but the move was disallowed by MLS and the league’s collective bargaining agreement policy on pay for free agents. A new deal could not be agreed upon according to the limitations of the CBA and Donovan stepped away once again.
Now the American legend will head into enemy territory as he heads to rival Mexico to play for Club Leon. While his national team days as a player will still likely stay in the past, seeing Donovan on the pitch one more time, and in Liga MX nonetheless, offers an intriguing twist to one of the greatest American soccer stories.