CARSON, California (Reuters) - Landon Donovan ended his career with a third title in four years as the LA Galaxy enjoyed a 2-1 extra-time win over the New England Revolution in Sunday’s MLS Cup and said he would struggle to replace the joy of victory.
Donovan, the all-time top scorer in Major League Soccer and for the U.S. national team, retires at the relatively young age of 32.
The Californian has won six MLS titles in his career with the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes. He said after celebrating in the locker room that he would need to find another source of satisfaction.
“There is no experience like what just happened. If you work a desk job or a nine-to-five job there is no real experience where you get to feel that. I can’t imagine anything coming close to that in my life going forward so I am going to miss that greatly,” he told reporters.
“That is hard, I think that is why a lot of athletes struggle after they retire, you can’t get that back. I have to be aware of that and find other things that I am passionate about”.
Donovan had a relatively quite game but the affection of the team’s fans for him was evident from the chants of his name and the ‘Thank You’ signs held in the crowd.
But the striker, who also had short spells in England with Everton and with Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, said it felt right to be leaving the game.
“It does. It feels great. As much excitement as there is about the game, there is excitement that tomorrow I don’t have to train anymore, I don’t have to do a lot of the things that are not fun parts of the job.
“Alongside that though I don’t get experiences like today but it feels good to go out in this way,” he said.
Donovan has offered no clue as to his next career moves and it would be a surprise if he were to move into coaching or administration.
The only involvement with the game that he did mention was returning to enjoy some kick-arounds with his elder brother who had introduced him to the sport.
“I’ll definitely be doing that,” he said.
Reporting By Simon Evans