Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Donovan grew up in Redlands, California, son of Canadian Tim Donovan and Donna Kenney Cash. Landon signed a professional contract with Bayer Leverkusen in February 1999 at the age of 17, shortly before playing in the U-17 World Cup where he won the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player.
Donovan could not break into the first team with Leverkusen, however, and, unhappy with his situation in Germany, was loaned back to the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer for the beginning of the 2001 season. In MLS, Donovan has been hugely successful, leading the Earthquakes to two MLS Championships, and becoming one of the most recognizable faces of soccer in America. In four years in the league, he scored 32 goals and 29 assists in league play, and ten goals and six assists in the playoffs. Donovan was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2003.
Donovan has also been successful on the international stage. After starring in the 2000 Summer Olympics, he earned his first cap for the U.S. National Team on October 25, 2000 against Mexico. In 2002, he was integral to the United States' run to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Japan/South Korea, scoring two goals. As of end of 2004, he has amassed 59 caps for the US, scoring 19 goals, including a rare four-goal game against Cuba in 2003.
On June 3, 2004, Bayer Leverkusen announced that Donovan would return to the club in 2005, and Landon followed suit, announcing his return to Germany on November 23, 2004. He then became the first man to be named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year two years in a row, taking the award for that year.
In early 2005, after not getting much playing time with Bayer, Donovan stated his intentions to come back to MLS. His wish was granted, but it was not San Jose that he returned to. Los Angeles traded leading scorer Carlos Ruiz to F.C. Dallas to get on top of the allocation pecking order, and signed Donovan on March 31, 2005.
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