CARSON (AP) – Landon Donovan says he will retire from professional soccer at the end of the MLS season.
The LA Galaxy forward is widely considered the best soccer player in American history. The 32-year-old Donovan is the top goal-scorer in MLS history and the top scorer in U.S. national team history.
“I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career,” Donovan said in a statement on his Facebook page. “And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.”
Donovan was named the most valuable player of his 14th MLS All-Star game on Wednesday night in Portland, scoring a goal in the All-Stars’ 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.
Donovan, a five-time MLS champion with the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes, agreed to a multiyear contract extension with the Galaxy just a year ago, pronouncing himself revitalized after an extended sabbatical. He took several months off after winning the Galaxy’s second straight MLS Cup title alongside now-retired David Beckham in December 2012.
“After spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person,” Donovan said.
Donovan was not included on his fourth U.S. World Cup team this summer. He was surprised and disappointed by coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision, feeling he had done enough in training camp to warrant inclusion on his fourth team.
Donovan is the career U.S. leader with 57 international goals over 156 appearances, and he has scored five World Cup goals, including his famed stoppage-time goal against Algeria four years ago to send the Americans to the second round. He watched the American team in Brazil from afar as a television commentator.
“As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States,” Donovan said. “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.”
Donovan is a Southern California native who has played for the Galaxy since 2005, also going on loan to Bayern Munich and Everton during the MLS offseason.
Donovan has four goals and seven assists in 17 games for the Galaxy this season as a midfielder and a forward. His absence creates another hole for the LA club, which couldn’t manage a third straight MLS title last season in its first year since Beckham’s departure.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.