US footie star Landon Donovan is the player everyone either loves or hates. The reactions to his World Cup non-selection are proof of that. In one of the most controversial moves in recent history, USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t include the player that many, including Andres Cantor, have dubbed as the greatest player in US soccer history in his 23-man roster for the World Cup.
Donovan fanatics immediately ripped Klinsi a new one. How could the coach who led their team to a first-place finish in the Hexagonal leave out one if the most important players in recent history? “It was a really sad day for a lot of us,” said Steve Alfaro of Latinos For Team USA. “We always knew there was a possibility that Landon would not make the team but we just didn’t expect it to happen.”
Bummed about Landon being left off the roster but thankful for 2010 and many other memories. #ThankYouLandon
— Sean Rodriguez (@chones88) May 22, 2014
Even Donovan haters were surprised at the news. That didn’t, however, stop them from cracking a few jokes. Who is LanDONE DoNOVAn? However, even the haters can’t deny that his presence will be missed not only as a footballer but as the USSF’s best ambassador to Latinos.
Think about it. Which US player never hesitates to speak to members of Spanish-language media in fluent Spanish, no less? Which US player appeared in TV commercials in Mexico? Which US player’s omission from the World Cup squad made headlines in countries such as Argentina and Peru?
There’s been plenty of Latino talent in US Soccer but none have had the exposure and popularity among Latino fans as Donovan, including Nick Rimando (Mexican/Filipino heritage), Omar Gonzalez (Mexican heritage), and Alejandro Bedoya (Colombian heritage) who made the final cut.
Love him or hate him, the World Cup won’t be the same without him.