Landon Donovan is the most decorated player in the U.S. Soccer history. Now he's starting a new chapter in his professional career.
On Thursday Donovan was officially named the first manager in the history of Loyal SC, San Diego's new United Soccer League club.This is a move that Donovan didn't initially think of but is now embracing.
"After playing it's been a challenge, like it is for many players, to find out where they're going to be passionate about next," said Donovan. "I finally found it. I found it and I'm running with it and I love it."
Donovan is going to be a very busy man. He's still working on his coaching licenses and will keep his position as executive vice president of soccer operations, meaning he'll be deeply involved with assembling the roster that starts play at USD's Torero Stadium in March of 2020.
He says his coaching style will have slight influences from a lifetime of international competition.
"I was very fortunate in my career to have fantastic coaches, from U-17 National Team all the way through my career," said Donovan. "I had many great influences. All very distinct, different styles that I've picked up different things from along the way."
But ultimately Landon's style will stem from sticking to his strengths.
"I think my greatest attribute is probably my ability to identify with people, my emotional IQ," said Donovan. "And then I'll have people around me who are much more experienced who understand the day-to-day nuts and bolts of putting training sessions together, running training sessions, those kinds of things. Then I can be most effective in helping individuals and seeing the big picture and guiding the team where it needs to be."
Donovan is still assembling his coaching staff but among the people he'll confide in is fellow U.S National Team star (and San Diego native) Shannon MacMillan, who joins Loyal SC as a special advisor.
"I'll be around to help in every aspect of the soccer," said MacMillan. "Meetings behind the scenes of how to strategize, the tactics and all that stuff. I want to be a part of this and make it grow and eventually on the tail end being a women's team around, as well."
Loyal SC could end up having a USL coaching staff that rivals those of some Major League Soccer franchises. As for the roster? Player additions should start to be made public in the coming weeks.