There was a surprise sprung in Major League Soccer (MLS) last night with the news that Landon Donovan will re-join LA Galaxy for the remainder of the 2016 season.
The 34-year-old retired at the end of the 2014 campaign having guided the Galaxy to their fourth MLS Cup.
However, with the club experiencing something of an injury crisis, the top scorer in MLS history with 144 goals is putting on the boots again, effective immediately.
Donovan took to Facebook to outline his reasons for wanting to help out the club that he played for between 2005 and 2014.
The Galaxy have lost young forward Gyasi Zardes for the season due to a broken foot, while Nigel De Jong was allowed to leave the club for Turkish giants Galatasaray.
While he hasn’t played a competitive game in almost 24 months, there is no doubt that Donovan could still bring something to the team as an impact player if fit.
I know this won’t be received well by everyone. That’s ok. I’ve always made decisions in life based on two guiding principles: my own happiness and the happiness of those I love and care about.
Being on the field again, being able to help an organization that has meant so much to me and having my son in my arms after a game will undoubtedly make me and all my loved ones happy. That’s all that matters.
With just six games of the regular MLS season remaining, the Galaxy sit third in the Western Conference, seven points behind leaders FC Dallas.
Boss Bruce Arena has welcomed the former United States international back into the fold, stating that Donovan “has all the qualities necessary to be a player who can help the LA Galaxy in 2016”.
Donovan previously wore the number 10 shirt with the Galaxy but that has since been passed on to Mexican Giovani dos Santos so he will instead run out in number 26.
My wife suggested 26, we were texting one day, and she said ‘what about 26?’, I said ‘why 26’ and she that’s the day that Talon [Donovan’s son] was born. That resonated, and then I looked back at numbers that I had worn, the first number that I wore at Bayer Leverkusen when I was 17 was 26. It’s a nice way to close the circle.
Galaxy’s next game is against Orlando City on September 11 and, with Donovan available for selection, we could see his previously potent partnership with Ireland’s Robbie Keane reignited.
He’s back. pic.twitter.com/tOEduyVv7u
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) September 8, 2016