Landon Donovan signed a new multi-year contract this afternoon, which his soccer player future much clearer. The leading scorer for the United States national team will continue to play for the LA Galaxy after this year and for the foreseeable future.
At 99 goals, Landon Donovan's next goal will be his 100th for the LA Galaxy, the first Galaxy player to reach that milestone. He's played in 210 LA matches since joining the club in 2005. His 131 goals all time in MLS have him three away from tying the all time record. Donovan's the all time leader in post-season goals in MLS, and is the only player in MLS history to have more than 150 goals combined in the regular and post-season.
"I'm thrilled to continue my career here with the LA Galaxy," said Donovan. "This organization has always treated me with the utmost respect and I feel truly blessed that I am able to continue playing here. The opportunity to play with the team I love and work to win championships, in front of wonderful fans while also being close to my family is literally a dream come true."
The tone of the press conference was one of excitement. Donovan was all smiles at several points, watching his highlight video with a bit of awe. The Champions Lounge was packed tighter than it was for Omar Gonzalez, with everyone from Jim Hill to ESPN FC in attendance. Donovan wanted to come back, and the powers that be were able to make it happen.
Donovan is the four time MVP of the Galaxy, and the top scorer in six of the previous eight seasons. Landon Donovan scored the match winner in both of the recent back to back MLS Cups. Now with Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, and Robbie Keane all signed to long term deals there's a solid core who can focus on being the first MLS club to three-peat.
"We are pleased that Landon has re-signed with the Galaxy," said Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. "He is the best player in the history of the game in our country. This signing is instrumental toward our commitment to build a team that can compete for championships year-in and year-out. We look forward to Landon's continued leadership and excellent play as a member of the LA Galaxy."
Dan Beckerman called the signing historic, and whether not is historic on the accounting end (though multiple signs point to that being the case) it's certainly a historic moment for MLS. When Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley headed off to Europe the first moment they got a chance, Donovan stuck with MLS. It earned him some unflattering nicknames, but now he gets to remain in the league he helped grow as US internationals start to feel comfortable returning to MLS.
He's the domestic league's biggest ambassador. With prominent English clubs expressing interest (Manchester United was implied in a conference call) as well as others in Europe and Mexico, the LA Galaxy stepped up and showed how much Donovan meant to them.
"Few players have meant more to this league and this club than Landon Donovan," said Galaxy President Chris Klein.