Landon Donovan has made a comeback in recent weeks as he now plays in the Major Arena Soccer League for the San Diego Sockers.
Donovan, 37, has retired twice from the professional game, took a lengthy sabbatical and has admitted to battling with depression and anxiety throughout most of his glittering career.
In an open, honest interview with the Guardian he opened up about why he didn’t really care about ‘making it big’ in Europe, and how winning six Major League Soccer titles with the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy more than filled the void of a lack of playing time overseas.
“I was just doing what my gut was saying, which was like, ‘Landon, you need to play soccer.’ I didn’t care about playing at Bayer Leverkusen – they were in the Champions League and all this – I didn’t give a f***, I just wanted to play soccer. So I’m glad I got out of there as quickly as I could, because I wanted to play. I needed to be happy.”
Donovan also revealed that he is done with being told what to do.
One of the greatest players the U.S. has ever produced, Donovan was the poster boy of U.S. soccer for well over a decade.
In fairness to him, he never shirked his responsibility of being a face of the game and trying to grow its popularity whenever he was asked to, but now he’s more than okay with taking a backseat.
“Since I was 16, everything was planned for me. You were told what to do, when to do it and how to do it, and that carried into my personal life, where I’d expect people I was dating to tell me where we’re going and when. That’s all I knew. So at some point I had this light – like, wait a minute, I can have my own ideas and make my own decisions. That was really powerful. … [Now] I really try hard not to just accept everything as society says it’s supposed to be.”
At times during his heyday, Donovan was a little bland in interviews and was seen as a bit of an outsider by some of his teammates.
He is a deep-thinker, no doubt, but Donovan’s recent outbursts seem healthy and let us get to know the man behind one of the best players in American soccer history.
You be you, LD.