Following Landon Donovan’s farewell game in East Hartford on Friday, the head coach of the U.S. national team, Jurgen Klinsmann, has spoken.
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Klinsmann and Donovan embraced, somewhat awkwardly, as the latter left the field for the 157th and final time as a USMNT player when he was substituted in the 41st minute on Friday night.
The relationship between the two has been somewhat strained since Klinsmann decided to leave Donovan out of his final 23-man roster for the 2014 World Cup, with Donovan revealing the two had not spoken all summer or before the day of his final game in a U.S. jersey.
Speaking in a press conference after the 1-1 draw with Ecuador, here’s a snippet of what Klinsmann had to say about Donovan.
“We wish him only the best and I told him before the game that this door is always open to him,” Klinsmann said. “This is his team, this is his cycle. He built this team and he’s done so many things for U.S. soccer, so he deserves the biggest crowds and the cheers and we told him before the game tonight, ‘enjoy it.'”
What does “this door is always open to him” mean, you ask? Well, interpret that comment whichever way you would like.
Is there a chance Donovan could return to play for the USA? Probably not. Is there chance he will return as an assistant coach while Klinsmann is still involved in the setup? Probably not.
Donovan has discussed coaching the U.S. national youth teams in some capacity further down the line, but he is now set for a spell away from the game after the 2014 MLS season with the LA Galaxy is over. There’s plenty of time for him to sort out a future career in the soccer realm.
Klinsmann and U.S. soccer seem to have offered Donovan an olive branch and hope he will remain connected with the setup after being instrumental in putting it on the map. It remains to be seen as to whether or not Donovan takes it.