April Fools’ Day generally means a variety of busted, unfunny jokes from the sporting world (and everywhere, really).
This is not the case for San Diego’s bid to land a Major League Soccer side.
The team had already rallied plenty of viral fame when voters hijacked their naming campaign with the hilarious “Footy McFooty Face” nickname.
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And on April 1, they announced that the goofy name had won. It would’ve been way funnier had they not used the end of the video to announce that they’d never name their side SDFMFFFC, but we’ll take it anyway.
After coming out of retirement last fall to join the LA Galaxy for one more shot at an MLS Cup, Landon Donovan has once again called time on his career, saying he’s certain he will not play again.
With a number of other ventures on his plate, the USMNT all-time leading scorer is looking forward to spending his time elsewhere.
“Yeah, I’m done,” Donovan said. “I’m done. No more playing for me. I have not [gone public with it yet]. But that is definitely the case.”
Donovan scored one goal in nine games for the LA Galaxy in his comeback bid, with the club ravaged by injuries and still gunning for the Cup. However, after the season was over with a loss to Colorado in the Conference Semifinals, the Galaxy confirmed it was nothing more than a short-term stopgap.
“With Landon, when he came back, it was always going to be a short-term thing,”team president Chris Klein said to the L.A. Times in December. “He’s enjoying what he’s doing and we see we’re comfortable in the direction that we’re headed.”
In January, reports claimed Real Salt Lake had offered Donovan a Designated Player contract, but it appears he’s turned it down, and will now have time to concentrate on his other ventures. Off the field, Donovan is an analyst on Fox’s soccer coverage, is on the advisory committee for the Los Angeles 2024 Olympics bid, and has joined the ownership group attempting to bring an expansion MLS team to San Diego.
It produced top talents like Landon Donovan, but now, U.S. Soccer will have to find another way to develop its budding stars moving forward.
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On Friday, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced that it has ended its youth residency program in Bradenton, Florida after 18 years, which had previously helped the country’s top young prospects develop while receiving an education.
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The residency program guided players like Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley to the heights of the U.S. Men’s National Team, in addition to 31 other squad members.
“One of our main hopes when establishing the U.S. Soccer Residency Program was that at some point advancements in youth player development would make its existence no longer necessary — we believe that point has been reached,” USSF president Sunil Gulati said in a statement on Friday.
“Not only did the program develop a number of key players for our national teams, it served as a model for academies across the country to follow. With the U.S. Development Academy having achieved high standards in preparing our young athletes, we are now able to impact future American professionals on a much larger scale.”
Instead, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has become the nation’s foremost resource for helping provide youth players with an outlet to hone their skills. The USSDA currently features 150 clubs within its ranks, including youth academies for the majority of MLS franchises.
If Landon Donovan decides to come back for an 18th season as a professional, he won’t be doing so in the Claret and Cobalt of Real Salt Lake, according to a report on SI.com.
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Per the report, Donovan, who is the all-time leading goal-scorer and assist man in MLS and U.S. national team history, and RSL, who offered the 34-year-old a two-year Designated Player contract last month, were unable to come to terms on a deal that would bring the man for whom the league’s MVP trophy is now named to Rio Tinto Stadium.
Donovan remains available as a free agent after the LA Galaxy, for whom Donovan came out of retirement in the fall, declined to offer him a DP contract this offseason. The previous report which stated RSL’s pursuit of Donovan also mentioned a second, mystery team from the Eastern Conference that had been in contact.
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It’s entirely possible — perhaps even likely — that Donovan doesn’t want to play another season, that he only briefly emerged from retirement to help the Galaxy while they endured a rash of injuries to key attacking players, and that any attempts to coerce another season out of him are futile.
It’s also possible — perhaps likely, again — that the 2017 season will start before definitive word comes down from Donovan, so let’s all kick back, relax and see how this one plays out.
Every time Landon Donovan thinks he’s out, they just keep pulling him back in.
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After coming out of retirement in September to aid the injury-riddled LA Galaxy in their quest for a sixth MLS Cup, Donovan, the leading goalscorer and assist man in both U.S. national team and MLS history, is yet to officially announce whether or not he will return to the Galaxy (or soccer, period) in 2017. However, numerous reports since LA’s elimination from the 2016 playoffs indicated he was likely to walk away from the team and/or game again this winter.
Bruce Arena’s departure to re-become USMNT head coach only seemed to further the notion that Donovan wouldn’t be back in Southern California next season. If he won’t play for the Galaxy in 2017, he won’t play for anyone else, right? Perhaps, but only time will tell, as at least two MLS teams have given Donovan something the think about as the calendar ticks over from 2016 to 2017, in the form of contract offers for the upcoming season, and beyond.
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The pipe dream of Donovan returning to the USMNT, now that Jurgen Klinsmann is out of the picture, is only possible if he’s playing club soccer somewhere… presumably. With Arena no longer in LA, and Curt Onalfo, the organization’s former LA Galaxy II (USL) head coach, taking his place, one might assume the Galaxy are looking to get younger by integrating a stacked roster of youth academy products into the first team.
RSL have already bid farewell to dynamic winger Juan Manuel Martinez and legendary no. 10 Javier Morales this winter, which leaves a pair of massive holes for head coach Jeff Cassar to fill. The fit is pretty clear to see, for both sides. As for the mystery Eastern Conference team, any team with a vacant Designated Player spot, plenty of money to burn, and a strong desire for marquee superstars would be wise to enter the Donovan sweepstakes of 2017. Cough cough New York City FC cough cough.