Retired Landon Donovan Can Fix U.S. Soccer, And We Should Let Him

Let America’s greatest player have his way

By Kirk Miller

 
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15 August 2016

The U.S. women’s soccer team had a rather ugly exit from the Olympics last Friday.

That said — they actually got to Rio.

The same can’t be said for the U.S. men’s soccer team, which failed to reach the summer games for the third time in the past four Olympics.

So we asked Landon Donovan, America’s all-time greatest men’s soccer player, how he'd fix our national team.

Donovan’s best known as a former striker for the L.A. Galaxy and Everton. But he first rose to fame with the 2000 Olympics men’s team — which finished fourth, the deepest our country has ever fared in the summer games.

“We don’t do specific training for the Olympics like we do for other sports,” he told InsideHook last week at a Captain Morgan-sponsored event in New York's Bounce Sporting Club.

“The disappointing part for me it’s similar to qualifying for the World Cup. We should be qualifying, but we haven’t qualified in three out of the four Olympics. That’s unacceptable. But in some ways it’s good — we have to look at ourselves and say ‘What are we doing wrong?’ ‘What is happening?’”

The men’s team is restricted to a primarily under-23 format (the women’s does not have an age limit), so it’s not likely Donovan — who retired a bit acrimoniously in 2014 — could have helped out on the field.

But given his legendary status and his continued interest in the sport (he just took on an advisory role for the Welsh team Swansea City) let’s suggest this: give Landon carte blanche to fix our national team.

In happier news, Donovan has picked up a new hobby post-soccer: alcohol. When we spoke, the 34-year old soccer star was not only promoting Captain Morgan’s #UNDER35POTUS campaign (a petition to allow people under 35 to run for president...and obviously a sign that Donovan wants to lead), but he, tongue in cheek, championed his current imbibing habits.

“As a former athlete, I drink a lot more now,” he said, laughing. “And I have a six-month-old, so I’m enjoying [alcohol] more than I used to.” 

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