Players, coaches react to Landon Donovan’s imminent retirement

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With Landon Donovan’s time with the US National Team coming to a close, there’s plenty of reaction from around the soccer world.

So as we look towards the beginning of the end, it’s time to look into some of the notable reactions from throughout the soccer realm.

His former USMNT manager Bob Bradley told ProSoccerTalk that Landon’s retirement will be a big loss for US Soccer:

“I can’t speak for other coaches, but I know from my experiences with him that it was always easy to see that Landon is intelligent, he is reflective, and he always responded to being challenged in important ways as a player and as a leader. He always understood what the team is all about, so his sense of other players and his sense of what was needed to be successful is part of his intelligence.”

Landon’s current boss Jurgen Klinsmann is excited for the match and hopes the man of the hour takes his own advice and just has fun.

”Landon had an exceptional career, very, very special career. He should hopefully enjoy every second of it.”

Houston Dynamo and USMNT teammate Brad Davis said it’s extra special that Landon’s from his stomping grounds:

“He’s been a great friend, great coach, great mentor for me personally. Honestly, he’s put together an amazing career, and to be honest, it’s even neater knowing where he comes from, the St. Louis ties, the background to be able to relate to a guy like that. Class guy, class player.”

Defender Clarence Goodson took to Twitter to praise Landon’s work ethic alongside the US Soccer tribute video (more on that later):

Former US national player Taylor Twellman told ProSoccerTalk his on the field accomplishments were great, but the best part about his play was that he did things his way, and that is arguably the most important aspect of his career:

“I think when Landon Donovan looks back on his career…we only get one life. Some careers are short and some careers are long, but Landon can say he did it his own way, and very few athletes can say that. Very few athletes can say ‘I went out on my terms, I got to do it my way.’ I’m not saying it was easy, he took some heavy criticism. But when it’s all said and done, I don’t think Landon Donovan will have any regrets.”

LA Galaxy and former USMNT coach Bruce Arena wrote a piece for US Soccer on his experiences with Landon. Here’s an excerpt, speaking on Landon’s first moments on the national team with Arena as the manager:

Landon was a real good kid off the field; he managed himself well. I’ve said this many times, but my first impression of Landon in 1997 wasn’t a good one. However, once I got to know him, he was obviously a good kid. He was a confident kid and a confident player and he demonstrated that on and off the field, but he was very respectful of the older players and knew where he fit in on the team.

This would be remiss without hearing from Landon himself on the buildup to his final game:

“A lot of people have said, ‘You know, I won’t be able to pay rent this month because I bought a ticket to Hartford to go watch your game,’ and things like that. It’s pretty cool. I think sometimes when we’re wrapped up in all this, we forget how special it’s been along the way – both ways, for me and for them – and this will be a nice week to sort of reflect and enjoy all of it.”

And finally, the video US Soccer released. Prepare your body for goose bumps: