This past Thursday, Nov. 5, the San Diego Loyal announced that Landon Donovan would take on the role of Manager and Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations. The San Diego Loyal project has been one with a lot of hype surrounding it, and this move generated even more buzz about the newest USL team.
Donovan has been contributing a lot to local soccer in San Diego and this project specifically since his retirement. The California native is a legend when it comes to U.S. soccer, as he is arguably the best player to ever play for the United States national team.
Donovan had an illustrious career playing with Bayer Leverkusen, San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy, Bayern Munich, Everton, and Leon. The former USMNT captain also finished off his career playing indoor soccer with the San Diego Sockers.
While Donovan had some excellent seasons playing in club competitions, he will mostly be remembered with the United States national team. The former MLS MVP racked over 150 appearances with the USMNT and scored 57 goals in 14 years from 2000-2014.
Donovan represented the United States in the 2002, 2006, and 2010 World Cups; his best performance came in 2010, where he scored five goals. The American forward had a highly decorated playing career, but he is yet to have any managerial gig as this will be his first with the San Diego Loyal.
Donovan will have some support from his staff that includes people like Paul Buckle, Shannon Mac Millan, and Carrie Taylor, who will serve as an assistant coach. The 37-year-old seems to still be in fantastic shape, but he threw any chance of playing with the San Diego Loyal out the window in the press conference announcing him as manager.
It is hard to believe that Donovan will no longer lace up the boots as he has come out retirement several times, but this time it seems to be the official end to his playing days and the start of his coaching career. The San Diego Loyal project was an already enticing one. Still, the addition of Landon Donovan as Manager and Vice President definitely may help the team in attracting players to the project.
The San Diego Loyal will begin play in the USL Championship in March of 2020, playing its home games at USD Torrero Stadium. The team will have its first open tryouts in Dec. of 2019 as the Loyal look to build its team for its inaugural campaign.