To those involved in the re-signing of Landon Donovan:
First off, thank you.
When I was nine years old something crazy happened: the United States hosted the World Cup. I didn't know exactly what that meant, but I did get the distinct impression it was something super important. That game I played on the playground was going to be played by some of the best in the world and the Rose Bowl was going to host a few of those matches. Donovan knows, he was there.
I watched all I could, including the human interest pieces. Ronaldo grew up playing soccer barefoot, so I played soccer barefoot. Then two years later, they launched a league.
Cobi Jones, who I cheered on in the World Cup, was on billboards and on the back of buses saying come see the LA Galaxy play. Then The Home Depot Center was built on the campus of my mom's alma mater. I went off to college, and halfway through the Galaxy brought in Landon Donovan.
Donovan, who like Brian McBride scored two goals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. 2002 FIFA World Cup is still one of my favorite FIFA games, with the overly dramatic cut scenes after every goal. It was the year the US surprised everyone and snuck into the Quarterfinals.
Jones was the LA Galaxy for a long time, playing for them from the beginning of MLS through 2007. Landon Donovan has taken over that role now. I'm not the only one that thinks that way. When a media scrum asked Chris Klein about the Donovan contract negotiations he told us that Donovan is the LA Galaxy.
210 appearances with the Galaxy. His next goal will be his 100th with the club. Three of the four MLS Cups won by the club have featured Donovan on the roster. Who can forget "Go, go, USA".
Everyone remembers the Beckham rule, but we occasionally forget the Donovan exception. MLS eventually caught up and allowed a second and third Designated Player, but when Donovan renegotiated an extension he didn't go up to a David Beckham style contract.
Now mostly likely he'll get paid like a David Beckham or a Thierry Henry. He and Clint Dempsey as the American faces of MLS now getting paid like a face of MLS.
This was the right thing to do, for a player who chose to grow with the league. Who managed to develop into one of the greats in lowly Major League Soccer.
Thanks for keeping him home.