For fourteen years, Landon Donovan reigned over Major League Soccer. In the process, he redefined the league, and became its greatest player ever, before retiring last month at the young age of 32.
Now he's enshrined in its Most Valuable Player award.
In a ceremony this morning, the league revealed that it would be naming the award after Donovan, who scored 144 goals and 136 assists in his league career. Donovan, who started his career with the San Jose Earthquakes before joining the LA Galaxy in 2005, won a record six MLS Cups, an Open Cup, and two Supporters’ Shields. When he retired, he held the record for most goals and most assists in league history.
In a statement released by the league, Donovan expressed his thanks for the honor.
"As a child, soccer was merely an outlet for me -- a way to express myself. To have this prestigious award named after me is truly unimaginable. Thank you to Commissioner Garber, Major League Soccer and all of the people that have supported me along the way. I am extremely humbled by and proud of this honor."
Donovan is also the all-time leader in scoring and assists for the U.S. men's national team, the highest scoring male American player in World Cup history and one of the three male American players to score in more than one World Cup. Regardless of whether it was for club or country, Donovan stands out as the greatest player in American men's soccer history -- and even though he only won the league MVP once (in 2009), it's fitting that the totality of his career is recognized this way.
Simply put: Major League Soccer wouldn't be what it is now were it not for Donovan's 14 years of toil and magnificence on its emerald fields.