In some ways, Landon Donovan and I are very different people. He is an internationally famous and widely beloved MLS legend who just recently decided to unretire from the sport he was born to play and rejoin the L.A. Galaxy. I am a largely anonymous yet widely loathed MLS hater who never played professional soccer.
What Donovan and I do share, however, is a deep and abiding love for our nation and our nation’s soccer team, and a willingness to lend aid to both of those proud institutions by way of offering our services to the USMNT. We also have more or less identical odds of that ever happening.
Here’s what the U.S.’s all-time leading goalscorer had to say about his openness to receiving an international call-up now that he’s back on the pitch and scoring for the Galaxy, from ESPN FC:
“If I felt I could actually help and contribute? Then yeah, of course [I’d suit up],” Donovan told The Dan Patrick Show. “That’s a million miles away, I’ve played a total of like 20 minutes now in two years.”
Donovan was also asked if he would join Klinsmann’s coaching staff if asked, and after a long pause, he said: “Again, if I felt I was able to contribute, I’d consider it... Why not?”
Here’s how I, who have maybe scored two “goals” in the totality of my brief, intermittent, and entirely unmemorable backyard soccer career, responded to the same question when I asked it of myself just now:
Hey, if Jurgen is looking for some new blood and fresh legs to throw into World Cup qualifying matches, or even just to bring in some new energy to training, I’m more than willing to buy my first pair of soccer boots and lace them up for our country. Ditto on the coaching staff spot.
It would at first blush appear that Donovan has a decided leg up on me, since even at age 34 he’s still a pretty damn good, professional-quality player who could at the very least provide some sage advice to the younger players on the squad, while I have never played in an organized game in my life and probably could only pass along to my fellow internationals tips on how to get easy goals in FIFA.
But then you remember how USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann humiliated Donovan with his shocking decision to leave Donovan off the 2014 World Cup squad back when Landycakes was actually still good, and how Donovan has repeatedly (and mostly passive-aggressively) voiced his displeasure with that World Cup snub, even going so far as to call for Klinsmann’s job, and you realize that the 0.00000001 percent chance that a proud man like Klinsmann would ever give an even older and more washed Donovan another international cap isn’t all that much greater than my solid zero percent chance.
But hey, like Donovan, I’ll never say never. Call us, Jurgen.