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Landon Donovan IS returning in 2013. Just not yet

Jan 21, 2013, 4:07 PM EDT

Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham embraces Landon Donovan against the Houston Dynamo during the second half of the MLS Cup championship soccer game in Carson

Landon Donovan, the very face of U.S. Soccer over more than a decade, is not in the LA Galaxy preseason camp today – but manager Bruce Arena says he will be soon.

Arena told reporters today at the conclusion of the club’s initial workout that Donovan will play soccer in 2013. That was in question after the Galaxy and U.S. international attacker, 30, spoke repeatedly last year about waning desire, even mentioning the possibility of retirement on several occasions.

With that, one significant question of Major League Soccer’s preseason – perhaps the question of training camp time around MLS – seems closer to resolution today.

Not all the questions have been answered, however. There’s still the “When” to consider, because the longtime MLS man and U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer was not present today. Arena could not say exactly when he would be.

Arena did meet with Donovan over the weekend, as the manager said he would during last week’s draft proceedings in Indianapolis.

We’ve given him a little more time off. He’s definitely playing this year, but we’re just working out a return date that makes sense for all of us…we’re working that out soon.”

Arena also said he was always confident the Galaxy DP would return for a 13th MLS season. (Yes, 13th … is Donovan really that old already?)

I thought he was going to come back. I think he just needs a little bit more of an extended leave of absence. He’s got a couple of years that have taken its toll and he needs a little bit more time.”

  1. danielofthedale - Jan 21, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    I always thought Landon would be back with the Galaxy this season. I think he will show up a week before the season start if I had to put date on it. He had played so long with a real break I think he just needed a full offseason without any soccer to recharge.

    Now his future with the National Team is cloudier to me. I think he will not be part of the March WCQs, which I don’t think in an of itself means the end of his time with the team. I think his Rubicon point is the June WCQs. I think he will in fact pass on those as well and if you miss half of the Hex by choice I think he is officially or unofficially retried from the team and we need to move on with out. I don’t think he is the player he once was where he can just show up at the last minute and say he wants to go to Brazil without putting in the work.

  2. randomhookup - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Becks always did have a way of making Landon look short and bald.

  3. charliej11 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:24 AM

    I am not one of the LD haters because he didn’t go to Europe to “test himself against the best”. I viewed it way more as him being a pioneer, who Neymar is now following, rather than wasting a career trying to get to a “Big club”

    But at this point, he is either going after the money that was paid to others who were not as good, or he is being a wuss….and in life, especially sports, it is ALWAYS about the money.

  4. iamjimmyjack - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    This is fantastic. 3 peat! Thanks Landon. We need you if we’re going to win again. You are the galaxy.

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