For as long as I can remember, Landon Donovan has been the face of American soccer, so I wasn’t surprised at the outrage that followed when it was announced he was left off the World Cup team.
They always say that athletes are always the last to know when they’ve lost it, but apparently so were we.
In a story via Mark Edward Hornish of Soccer By Ives, the former American soccer team captain finally spoke out about his disappointment and still remains defiant that he should be heading to Brazil.
“I’m not angry. I’m disappointed,” Donovan said. “I’ve spent most of my adult life, and the majority of my life in general, dedicating myself to this sport and my country, and representing my country. And so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to play in another World Cup and to help this team. Having been in camp for ten days, I really thought I was going to contribute in a real big way – probably bigger than I had expected going in.”
U.S soccer team coach Jurgen Klinsmann defended his decision by saying there were quite a few players ahead of Donovan in terms of squad depth, but the LA Galaxy forward disagrees vehemently.
“I don’t agree with that assessment. I think I was as least as good as everybody else in camp,” Donovan said. “I think you guys that know me well, know that I’m pretty honest when it comes to my assessment. When I don’t play well, I say ‘I didn’t play well.’ When I say I played well, I think I played well. I think I trained and played very well in camp.
“I think I was one of the better players. So that’s why it stings a little,” Donovan added. “If I had gone in (to camp) and didn’t feel like I deserved it, then I can live with that.But that’s not the case here.”
Donovan reiterated that he deserved to be going to Rio if he was judged solely on his national team performances.
“I think if I’m being judged solely on what happened in camp, then I absolutely deserve to be going to Brazil,” Donovan said. “I firmly believe I deserved it, and not just from what I’ve done in the past, but from what I’ve done in the last week and a half.”
Have we seen the last of Donovan in an American soccer team uniform? That’s a question he can’t answer while stuck in this current state of disappointment.
“Honestly, I haven’t had much chance to think about that. I love this country, I love playing for this country, I have always loved representing this country, so I can’t imagine that, if I’m given another opportunity, I would say no,” Donovan said. “But at this point, I’m just trying to deal with the disappointment.”