Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Boy Who Would Be King

Landon Donovan has been, undoubtedly, one of the bright lights of the American soccer scene over the last decade. His play in the 2002 World Cup gave American fans a tantalizing glimpse at a truly creative player wearing an American strip. Alas, came 2006, with the US in a challenging group, Donovan was a shrinking violet against the bigger, more physical Czech Republic yet redeemed himself in a truly courageous performance against Italy.

Even more vexing is the perception that Donovan is a callow boy. His failure at Bayern Leverkusen in addition to his intermittent flashes of brilliance in international play accentuates this perception. This article does not exactly disabuse skeptics of this notion. In the article Donovan says:

“Sometimes in this league, we play a midweek game in front of 6,000 and you
think: this stinks. Now with David, these have become real soccer games all the
time. Other teams are reaping rewards, too. Now we get to play in real games and
take it all seriously because of the spotlight.” (Emphasis mine)

Note to Galaxy fans who paid their money to watch a midweek game in which poor Landon was bummed out: You threw your hard earned bones down on a game that wasn’t real.

“The main thing on a week-to-week, day-to-day basis, it’s what I’ve been doing
to prepare myself to be successful in training and the next game,” he said. “I
didn’t always do it in the past. We’d play on Saturday, then it was kind of
ho-hum to get through the week. Now it’s become ... this is my job and it’s what
I do, and I feel it would be like letting myself down if I’m not taking things
more seriously.”

At age 26, Landon Donovan finally figured out what it took to be a professional.

2010 is around the corner - time to man up and prove your brilliance, pal.


Todd said...

Great point. Donovan is immature and has all the depth of the Spice Girls in their prime. So far Donovan is King of NADA. He was a crushing disappointment in WC'06 and needs to improve his game a great deal if he is to make a difference in 2010.

Anonymous said...

I am not a big soccer honk, but is Donovan really a world class talent or do we just know him because he is the best American and he recieves a ton of local hype. Kind of like Tab Ramos, or Marcel Balboa, Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones or that a-hole goalie reject from Color Me Badd from the way back who played for NY and the world cup team in the 90's. In most cases in seemed that American players were more famous for telegenic haircuts than any world class soccer talent.

Todd said...

Heh. The "Goalie reject" you're referring to is Jorge Campos ---who was the Mexican National Team's goalie and had a brief, unsuccessful stint in MLS from '96 to '98. You can check out his ugly jersey here: http://www.123football.com/players/c/jorge-campos/jorge-campos3.jpg

As for the others, they weren't great, but a number of Americans have done well in Europe --like Brian McBride.

Anonymous said...

Not Campos - wasn't he the somewhat flamboyant Mexican goalie who used to try to attack and score, or was that the Chilean or Paraguayan goal tender. No, I was referring to the Italian Stallion douchebag, Tony Meola. I couldn't post the picture of sweet 90's vintage mullet.