Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Landon Donovan cut from U.S. World Cup team

STANFORD, Calif. — Landon Donovan, the most accomplished player in American soccer history, won't be going to his fourth World Cup.

The 32-year-old attacker, who set the national team record for goals (57) and assists (58) and is second with 156 appearances, was among seven players cut Thursday when coach Jurgen Klinsmann got down to the 23-player limit well before the June 2 deadline.

"I was looking forward to playing in Brazil, and as you can imagine, I am very disappointed with today's decision," Donovan said in a statement posted on Facebook. "Regardless, I will be cheering on my friends and teammates this summer, and I remain committed to helping grow soccer in the U.S. in the years to come."

Defenders Brad Evans, Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst also were cut, along with midfielders Joe Corona and Maurice Edu, and forward Terrence Boyd.

Six players return from the 2010 team: goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan; midfielder Michael Bradley; forwards Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey; and defender DaMarcus Beasley, who is bidding to become the first American to play in his fourth World Cup.

Also making the team was 18-year-old midfielder Julian Green, who was born in Tampa and made his national team debut last month. Green has dual citizenship — his father is American and his mother German — and in March switched his national team affiliation from Germany to the United States.

Green had been playing for German club power Bayern Munich and also played for Germany in the European under-19 championship in October.

Klinsmann had announced a preliminary 30-man roster May 12, and training began two days later at Stanford's football and soccer stadiums. When they arrived for Thursday's practice, players had no idea it would be cutdown day. Having watched his team in scrimmages against Stanford on Saturday and the reserves of Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy three days later, Klinsmann felt the impetus to make decisions.

"We discussed it every day, when is a good time and how we felt since we go into another scrimmage (this) morning," he said while sitting in a golf cart outside the locker room, looking ahead to a practice session against the reserves of MLS's San Jose Earthquakes.

He put off discussing the Donovan decision until a news conference today. Asked whether he agonized over it, he said "a little bit of time."

The U.S. Soccer Federation quoted Klinsmann as saying: "This is certainly one of the toughest decisions in my coaching career, to tell a player like him, with everything he has done and what he represents, to tell him that he's not part of that 23 right now. I just see some other players slightly ahead of him."

Beasley and Donovan were teammates on the U.S. team that finished fourth in the 1999 under-17 world championship. "Landon is my brother. I've known Landon since I was 15. We've been through a lot together," Beasley said. "To not have him there is difficult."

Green was born at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. After two years, his parents separated, and he moved to Germany with his mother. He signed a development contract with Bayern Munich when he was 12 and trained at its youth academy.

He accepted an invitation to train with the U.S. team in Germany in early March and later in the month announced he was switching his national affiliation.

Green's father, Jerry Green, is an admissions and community outreach counselor at Eckerd College.

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