May 24, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT
Returning to Los Angeles after his surprise cut from the U.S. Men’s National Team, Landon Donovan addressed his controversial omission from the squad Jurgen Klinsmann will take to Brazil.
The team’s all-time leading goal scorer, Donovan was expected to be named to his fourth consecutive World Cup team. Instead, he was one of seven players missing from the 23-man squad when U.S. Soccer named its team on Thursday.
Back with his club team in Carson, Calif., the 156-time U.S. international addressed the media for the first time since leaving national team camp. He also said Saturday would be the final time he discussed his exclusion.
“I thought that if I was only judged on what happened in cam, I deserved to be in Brazil,” Donovan told the media in Carson (as posted on the LA Galaxy’s website).
By now, however, we know that the 23-man team was about more than the week-plus players spent in Palo Alto, Calif. Having struggled to make an impact through much of Klinsmann’s tenure with the U.S., Donovan was unable to rewrite recent history during training at Stanford University. Instead, the gap that had formed between himself and players like Houston’s Brad Davis and San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski proved too much to overcome.
In what must have been a frustrating media session, Donovan said it was important to discuss his omission. He also hinted at a need to quickly move on.
“I think it was very important for me, from both a personal and a professional perspective, to address it and speak about it, but after today I won’t be speaking about it anymore,” said Donovan. “I want to focus on the Galaxy and doing what I need to do here…
“I don’t want there to be a negative tint to any of this. We’re all professionals. We’re all men, and we have to handle things like this. I think it’s important that we support our team and support our nation. They need us.”
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