Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Whither Landon?

Whither Landon?
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
So America's Golden Boy is coming back to the states. Landon Donovan, the former San Jose Earthquakes #10 is ending his four month odyssey in Germany's Bundesliga and returning to Major League Soccer with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Presumably, the greatest soccer player ever produced by this country is a quitter. After accomplishing everything domestic soccer in this country has to offer--two MLS Championships in San Jose and a sparkling run at the 2002 World Cup--he has reportedly cut short his career in Europe with the German club, Bayer Leverkusen.

This amounts to a talented Triple-A ballplayer foregoing a chance at the Majors so he can continue "tearing up" the Minors.

His Euopean vacation amounted to a mere nine matches. Two of which he started and was so ineffective that the manager substituted him shortly after halftime. Donovan's lack of playing time obviously bothered him, but why would he expect to be handed a spot on the starting XI without earning it?

The final straw aparently was Bayer Leverkusen's Champions League match versus Liverpool where, in the squad's most important match, the coach found him wandering around the field and had some observers believing he was hiding from the ball. The subsequent criticism from the German press was reportedly so hot that the thin-skinned midfielder began talk of returning to MLS.

Donovan has proven that he cannot be counted upon to bring America to next level as a soccer superpower. His antics are so juvenile that they beg to answer the question as to whether soccer's upper class demographic in this country is the real problem.

Donovan was raised in Redlands, CA near Santa Monica, an upper-class seaside community where soccer clubs are the norm and "Soccer Mom's" are a dime a dozen. He grew up in a middle to upper class, suburban lifestyle. He was a soccer prodigy from a young age; actually signing his contract with Bayer Leverkusen while still a junior in high school.

Donovan's problem is that he has never been in a situation where he didn't begin at the top. Nowhere in his life history did he have adversity. How can the American soccer public count on such a player to dare dream of hoisting the World Cup trophy. Especially when throughout the world, soccer is played primarily by the poor. The country that has won five World Cups has always had the makeup of poor, downtrodden kids who have raised their lot in life by toiling on dusty, sunbaked soccer fields and kicking old, patched up balls into torn nets.

Donovan is the rich kid who can't adjust to adversity. Is this the best we have to offer?

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