Landon Donovan Becomes ESPN World Cup Analyst

Posted: Jun 12 2014, 3:11am CDT | by , Updated: Jun 12 2014, 3:13am CDT, in News | Latest Sports News

Landon Donovan Becomes ESPN World Cup Analyst
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Sports network ESPN tapped Landon Donovan to be one of its analysts for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Landon Donovan will be an ESPN commentator for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

ESPN FC has more details on the development:

"ESPN has hired Landon Donovan to offer commentary on the U.S. soccer team he was cut from just before the World Cup.

"The all-time U.S. leader in goals and assists, the 32-year-old Donovan was dropped last month in a highly-debeated move by coach Jurgen Klinsmann. He made his ESPN debut during a two-hour World Cup preview show on Wednesday.

"Donovan will work out of ESPN's Los Angeles studios, with a particular focus on the U.S. He will provide analysis before and after the Americans' group-stage matches and during halftime. Donovan will also appear on shows such as 'SportsCenter.'

"'Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup because he knows the United States team better than anyone having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event,' said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer.

"'Landon is also one of this country's biggest sports stars and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our month-long coverage.

"Added Donovan: 'I am excited to be joining ESPN's coverage of the 2014 World Cup from Los Angeles, and I look forward to working with the talented ESPN broadcasters to provide unique insights for our amazing U.S. soccer fans.

"Donovan, who has made 53 more appearances in a national team shirt than any otehr active player, was outspoken about his disappointment in being left off the U.S.' final 23-man roster.

"'It was difficult at first,' he said on ESPN on Wednesday. 'But as time goes on you sort of learn that decisions don't always go your way in life.'

"After leaving the U.S. training camp, he returned to the Los Angeles Galaxy and broke the Major League Soccer scoring record with his 136th goal last week.

"'As difficult and disappointing it was, there's a silver lining,' Donovan said. 'I got to go home and be part of an L.A. Galaxy game in front of my friends and family where I was able to break the (MLS) goal-scoring record.

"'It was not easy. But I'm not the first person that's had a decision to go against them. It certainly won't be the last.'

"Donovan said joining ESPN was another way he can back the U.S. squad in Brazil.

"'Now, as I said when I spoke about it initially, I want to be behind the team, I want to support everybody,' Donovan said. 'I certainly wanted to be there in person but this is another way to support the team.'

"Former teammate Jody Altidore said is Sao Paulo he wasn't too surprised by Donovan's move to broadcasting.

"'He's a smart guy. He knows the game very well,' Altidore said. 'It was always going to happen -- right? -- him to be a commentator.

"Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya agreed, saying 'I don't see any problem with it.'

"'I feel like people are probably going to want to tune in on that, yeah,' he added.

"Unitl Sunday evening, there still remains a possibility that Donovan could be recalled to the U.S. team, should the Americans need to replace an injured player."

ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle wrote an article on May 24 which says Donovan feels he deserves to be on the 2014 U.S.A. World Cup roster:

"Landon Donovan made it clear on Saturday what he thought about Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to leave him off the U.S. national team's 23-man World Cup roster. He thinks he should be going to his fourth World Cup.

"Donovan spoke to reporters following a training session with his club team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and not surprisingly, his views were in stark contrast to the U.S. manager's.

"'I think if I'm being judged solely on what happened in camp, then I absolutely deserve to be going to Brazil,' he said.

"There have been all kinds of theories floating around about why Donovan was omitted. There have been rumors, none confirmed, that Donovan wasn't in shape, and had performed poorly in training. Donovan insisted that wasn't the case.

"'Based on my performances leading up to camp, based on my preparation for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my workload, based on the way I trained and played in camp, I not only thought I was a part of the 23, I thought I was in contention to be starting,' he said. 'That's why this has all been pretty disappointing.'

"On Friday, Klinsmann, without going into details, said his decision to cut Donovan was simply a case of other players being ahead of the Galaxy attacker. He mentioned how Donovan's game had changed in the last few years, but insisted his decision was performance-based.

"'The ones we chose are just that inch ahead of ones we didn't choose in performance terms,' Klinsmann said on Friday.

"Donovan disagreed.

"'I think it was at least as good as everybody else in the camp,' he said. 'From that standpoint, I don't agree with it. I think you guys that know me well, know I'm pretty honest when it comes to my assessment. When I say I don't play well I didn't play well, and when I said I played well, I think I played well.

"'I think I trained and played very well in camp. I think I was one of the better players. That's why it stings a little. I think at the end of the day, like I said before camp, if I think I didn't deserve it, then I can live with that. That's not the case here.'

"The he said/he said nature of the comments from both Donovan and Klinsmann gives further evidence to an irreparable personal rift, which would preclude Donovan from being recalled to the team in case of injury.

"Much like Thursday's squad announcement, that decision lies exclusively with Klinsmann. But Donovan stated unequivocally that if he were summoned, he wouldn't hesitate to rejoin the team."

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The Author

Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.




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