In a shocking move, Landon Donovan, one of the most successful players in American soccer, was not capped by manager Jurgen Klinsmann for the final USA roster that will be headed to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next month.
The 32-year-old veteran, who currently plays with the Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer team has been a staple in Team USA for the last decades.
Donovan is the leading scorer and has the most assists in American soccer history. He has also been capped more than anyone other active player.
Many believed that this would be Landon Donovan’s last World Cup since, at 32, he is considered “old” to play at the international level for these tournaments, but Klinsmann’s decision took many by surprise on a lazy Thursday evening.
By not including Donovan in his final 2014 World Cup roster, the American manager is sending a signal that he is preparing for the future, rather than with an eye on moving past the first round in Brazil.
The USA has been selected to play in the so-called “Group of Death,” which includes powerhouses Germany and Portugal, plus Ghana, which is no easy pass any longer.
Even though Donovan’s exclusion from the final USA World Cup team for 2014 is surprising, some could see it coming after Kinmans hinted that the forward’s cap was not a guarantee.
Donovan took a leave of absence last year to take a break from soccer, but seemed to have worked his way back up again this season and, though he was not 100 percent yet, most believed that he would be capped because of the experience he brings to a young Team USA.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 22, 2014
In the US, soccer (or football as they call it in the rest of the world) is a relatively young sport and started picking up recently, with more schools and youth clubs offering it for youngsters. However, it is not the most popular sport, as is the case in pretty much anywhere else.
The California resident is an American soccer legend and was last capped for the World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica and Mexico in September of 2013.
Landon Donovan has played in 156 soccer matches for Team USA and has 57 goals. He was a member of the 2002 World Cup squad, which reached the quarter finals and scored three goals in the 2010 World Cup.
[Image via Twitter]