1. U.S. soccer’s leading goal scorer and Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the 2014 MLS season.
2. The 32-year-old Donovan leaves an incredible legacy behind for U.S. soccer and the L.A. Galaxy. He is the U.S. Men’s National Team leader in goals, 57, and assists, 58, along with being second in appearances for the red, white, and blue with 155.
3. “I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and U.S. Soccer during my playing career,” Donovan said in a statement on Facebook.
4. “As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States,” Donovan said about his role in the future of soccer in America.
5. Here is the full statement from his Facebook page Thursday afternoon:
After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player.
I don’t write these words lightly and this day carries mixed emotions for me. I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy. I will miss all of the teammates who helped me create so many incredible memories on-the-field, and who I have shared many wonderful experiences with off-the-field. I will miss my coaches, at both the club and national team levels, who have helped me develop throughout my career and helped make me the player I am today. However, after spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person.
There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey. I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.
I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.
As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States. I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life.