A couple of months ago American soccer fans were in an uproar when Landon Donovan, the All-Time leader in goals and assists in US Soccer history, was left off of the World Cup roster for 2014. Today ESPN decided to rectify that situation. Landon Donovan will serve as a World Cup analyst from the LA Studios during ESPN's coverage of the 2014 World Cup. Here's the official announcement from ESPN.
ESPN Adds Landon Donovan to 2014 FIFA World Cup Roster
U.S. Men’s National Team Star Joins Studio Analyst Team; Debuts today on ESPN’s World Cup Preview Show, 3 p.m. ET
Landon Donovan, widely considered the best player in United States Men’s National Team history and the star of the past three FIFA World Cup squads (2002, 2006 and 2010), will be part of ESPN’s coverage of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Donovan will contribute analysis from ESPN/ABC studios in Los Angeles. He will make his debut today during ESPN’s two-hour FIFA World Cup Preview (3 p.m. ET).
The all-time U.S. leader in both goals and assists will preview and analyze the tournament with a particular focus on the U.S. team’s three opening round matches: June 16 vs. Ghana; June 22 vs. Portugal; and June 26 vs. Germany. He will contribute to pre-, halftime and post-match coverage, editions of SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight and other shows.
“Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup because he knows the United States team better than anyone having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “Landon is also one of this country’s biggest sports stars and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our month-long coverage.”
Added Donovan: “I am excited to be joining ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 World Cup from Los Angeles, and I look forward to working with the talented ESPN broadcasters to provide unique insights for our amazing US Soccer fans.”
Donovan, who was part of the final cut in May when the 23-man U.S. roster was set for Brazil, is the all-time leader in goals and assists with the U.S. National Team, scoring 57 goals and adding 58 assists in his 157 games. He has played in 12 World Cup games and scored five career World Cup goals, both U.S. records. A seven-time Honda Player of the Year and four-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, Donovan won both awards in 2009 and 2010.
One of the breakout stars at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Donovan scored three times in the four games that the U.S. played. His goal against Slovenia helped spur a 2-2 draw, and, with the U.S. facing elimination, Donovan scored one of the most famous goals in the history of American soccer in stoppage time to give his team a 1-0 win over Algeria and the top seed in Group C. He then scored on a match-tying penalty kick against Ghana in the Round of 16 before the U.S. eventually lost in extra time.
Donovan appeared in and started every game during both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, scoring in the 2-0 Quarterfinal win over Mexico in 2002. He made his National Team debut in October 2000. Just two weeks ago, Donovan scored two goals in a match for the LA Galaxy to break the all-time Major League Soccer record for regular-season goals scored (now at 137). During his pro career, he has won five MLS Cups, leading the LA Galaxy to three and capturing two while with the San Jose Earthquakes.