Landon Donovan will return to the Galaxy in late March. (Harry How, Getty Images)
Landon Donovan's extended leave of absence from his soccer career has a more definite end in sight. The Los Angeles Galaxy announced Sunday afternoon that the midfielder/forward will return to training with his team in the last week of March.
“After a series of collaborative discussions between Landon, his representative and our key club leaders, we have agreed to allow Landon to remain on an extended leave of absence and return to training with the team during the final week of March,” Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena said. “We understand this arrangement is not ideal, but we are confident it will allow Landon the time he needs to be both mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming season."
Donovan hinted at retirement toward the end of the last MLS season, which ended with a second consecutive MLS Cup triumph for the Galaxy. Instead, the forward opted to take some time away from the game, claiming mental and physical exhaustion. Arena revealed last month that Donovan would return to the Galaxy, but declined to provided a timetable at the time. Now the date of Donovan's return is a little more definite.
The Galaxy will have already played five games by the time Donovan returns to the training field - three in MLS and a home-and-home series against Costa Rican side Herediano in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Technically speaking Donovan could return as early as the Galaxy's March 30th game against Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto, but Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports via Twitter that Donovan's return to game action could come a bit later.
Donovan, widely considered to be the best field player produced by the United States, is the all-time leading scorer for the United States Men's National Team. It is not yet known when or if Donovan will make his return to international play.