San Diego Sockers Announce Signing of Landon Donovan
Written with Diane Scavuzzo
American soccer legend Landon Donovan has announced he will come out of retirement and join the San Diego Sockers for the remainder of the 2018/19 MASL campaign. The San Diego resident has been committed to growing the game of soccer in the region, with him being a key investor in the SoccerCity initiative in 2018.
“I moved to San Diego three years ago and made this city my home,” says Landon Donovan.
MASL Soccer News: The San Diego Sockers of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) have officially announced the signing of Landon Donovan. A press conference was held on Thursday morning at Ron Newman Field at Pechanga Arena San Diego with media and club supporters in attendance.
“The opportunity to play indoor soccer, a game I’ve played my entire life, right here in my new hometown was a no brainer,” said Landon Donovan.
“We are thrilled to announce that one of the greatest soccer stars in U.S. history is joining the Major Arena Soccer League,” said MASL commissioner Joshua Schaub. “Quality signings like Landon and Dwayne DeRosario bring an entirely new level of professionalism and recognition to this league and to arena soccer as a whole. It’s an exciting time for the MASL, and we’re very lucky to have him.”
“I am really excited to try and help the Sockers win their 15th championship,” said Donovan.
One of the greatest U.S. men’s soccer players of all time, Donovan joins the Sockers after a brief stint with Club León of Mexico.
Donovan deserves the recognition — he is LA Galaxy’s all-time leading scorer and perhaps the best player in MLS history and played 14 seasons in Major League Soccer (MLS) with time at LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes, during which time he won 6 MLS Cups and became the league’s all-time top scorer.
Donovan has also made 157 appearances with the U.S. Men’s National Team and is the highest scoring male soccer player in U.S. World Cup history.
“Landon Donovan is not only a world class player, but he’s also been a big ambassador for the sport of soccer in San Diego,” says San Diego Sockers owner Phil Salvagio.
“We’re thrilled that he’s decided to join our squad and continue his mission to make San Diego a top soccer city.”
When asked how his experience playing outdoor soccer will translate to the arena game, Donovan responded by claiming he may need to lean on the club’s veterans in order to catch up to speed with the basics.
“There are obviously a lot of similarities,” said Donovan. “The objective is the same – score goals. There are a lot of nuances that I am going to have to learn. I consider myself a quick learner. I will certainly take the time needed to make sure that I am learning as quickly as possible.”
“We have guys like Brian Farber and Kraig Chiles – amongst many others – that know this game inside and out,” said Donovan. “I am hopeful and anticipating that they are willing to catch me up to speed. I will allow my soccer instincts, and what I’ve done my whole life, to provide some of the offensive abilities to shine through.”
Donovan further praised the team’s veterans for the experience and leadership they bring to the squad.
“It’s a very good team offensively,” said Donovan. “Very experienced team. There’s a reason why they are 10-1. It starts with good leadership from guys like Farber and Chiles. That filters down to everyone else.”
Donovan was a vocal leader during the push to bring professional soccer to San Diego. As an investor in SoccerCity, Donovan familiarized himself with the surging soccer community in San Diego.
“Probably my biggest takeaway from SoccerCity was that soccer fans in this community deserve the sport,” said Donovan.
“I realized that they have soccer right here. It’s not outdoor soccer in the way everyone wants it. But they still have a historic team here that is successful and winning right now. It has a great brand and ownership. People are passionate. I’m supportive. I think that’s important.”
Donovan joins the most decorated arena soccer team in their quest to hoist a 15th title. Although Donovan is not an expert arena soccer player, his attraction to the indoor game has been influenced by his youth experience and offensive skills.
“Candidly, I enjoyed playing indoor more than I did outdoor,” said Donovan. “As an attacking player, there is a lot more action.”
Donovan will make his debut with the San Diego Sockers at home when they face off against the Tacoma Stars on February 15, 2019, at 7:35 p.m. PT.