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Landon Donovan not on U.S. national team camp roster

Jan 6, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT

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We will have a lot to say about the U.S. national team camp roster announced early this afternoon, about the opportunities ahead for some of the players who will be at the Home Depot Center beginning tomorrow, trying to work their way up manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s depth chart.

But  the discussion needs to begin with the big name not on the camp roster: Landon Donovan.

His absence has big implications, because Donovan is clearly still struggling to figure out his feelings for professional soccer, still undetermined about whether the requisite fire and desire burns for the game.

It’s also important because this means Donovan will probably not be part of the team that begins final round World Cup qualifying in a month.

Klinsmann, speaking by phone on the Fox Soccer Channel show Goals on Sunday, indicated that the decision here wasn’t a tough one.

What he said:

Well, Landon has not been invited, because, obviously, he is taking his break. He is thinking about his future … and he is not at a point yet where he knows what he wants to do. So it is as simple as that. That is why we didn’t invite Landon. We are as curious as everybody else about what his decision will be in the future time, but right now he is not part of this camp.

When we last heard from Donovan, following the L.A. Galaxy’s MLS Cup win over Houston five weeks ago, he seemed to be leaning toward taking a break from the game or even retiring.

(MORE: Yet another retirement hint following MLS Cup win)

Sunday’s news moves Donovan a little further in that direction. Because anyone thinking that the U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer just needed a couple of weeks to clear his head, that he would then be set and ready to go, well, we see now that’s just not the case.

(MORE: Klinsmann discusses Donovan’s career crisis)

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