By Kaleb Page
The game of soccer in the United States is still on the upswing and still has vast improvements to be made not only in international play, but also here in the states as part of Major League Soccer.
A major factor in the growth of soccer here would be a player that not only was an exceptional athlete on the field but an even better person off of it. This player would be none other than Landon Donovan. A player that is easily the most recognized faces in the soccer community (and by casual fans) as not only an ambassador for the sport but as someone who was there for the tough times in U.S. soccer that have led to a bigger and better following today.
This Thursday at the MLS Superdraft, the MLS made sure to pay tribute to the player who lead countless U.S. men’s national soccer teams and finished his career being the all-time leading scorer in the league. This tribute made by the MLS was to re-name the MVP trophy the “Landon Donovan MVP award.”
Donovan was on hand to be presented with the honor and went on to say:
“I am incredibly honored. I will try to live my life in a way that is worthy of having a MVP award named after you.” – Landon Donovan
Fox Sports talked with MLS commissioner Don Gerber on what made the league do this and the answer was simple. He said that the league wanted to enshrine Donovan’s achievements permanently after his influential role in the growth of the league over the past decade.
I think it is cool for this league to make it a point to honor and remember someone who put in the effort and work to make the league better than it once was. Donovan had all the talent to go play in other more top flight leagues at the time, and instead looked to stay home in hopes of one day making the MLS a league worthwhile.
In his 14 seasons as a player in the MLS Donovan has a resume to be proud of, amassing over 144 goals, 136 assists and a record six MLS Cup titles. It is safe to say the MLS made the right decision in making this living American soccer icon the title bearer on its highest trophy to an individual player. An appropriate way to commemorate the man who carried the torch for U.S. soccer for so long, and now can sit back and watch how this sport will grow for years to come. This being in large part to the foundation he laid and passion he brought to the game.
Thank you for all you did #10.