In a long statement posted on his Facebook, the L.A. Galaxy star says of his decision, 'I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy.'
Landon Donovan suddenly announced his decision to end his professional soccer career. The 32-year-old athlete took to Facebook on Thursday, August 7 to share the news to his fans, writing, "After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player."
He also thanked his fans, family, people at the MLS and national team in the statement, before adding, "I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life."
L.A. Galaxy manager Bruce Arena was tearful after learning of the news. Speaking of the soccer icon during a press conference in Carson, Calif., he said, "There are people in our lives that make a difference, and he has as a player, and as a person. I've seen him as a young kid, now I see him as a man, seeing him at the end of a career. It's unbelievably ironic that I've seen him as a baby in this sport and now a man that's leaving."
"To see the joy he had today and also to witness the suffering he's experienced throughout his career ... to see that range of emotions and now to see that he's happy again, it's emotional to me," he continued.
Other U.S. soccer stars reacted to the news on Twitter. Tim Howard shared photos of him and his buddy, writing, "It's been an honor @landondonovan #ThanksLD." Drew Moor added, "LD retiring... Defenders will be able to sleep a little more peacefully starting next year... Thanks to the best.. #landondonovan #MLS."
Donovan joined Galaxy in 2005. He has scored 138 goals, making him the leading scorer in MLS history. He played for the U.S. for the World Cup in 2002, 2006 and 2010, scoring five goals. He, however, was left off the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.