Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Official: Landon Donovan Loaned to Everton

Landon signed a nice new fat deal with the LA Galaxy, and they shortly thereafter announced that Donovan will be on loan during LA's off-season. He's going to Everton, which is still technically a side in the English Premier League, but is need of some help, as they are only 1 point above the first team in the relegation zone.

This has the opportunity to be mutually beneficial, but most importantly, beneficial to the US National team. There are risks attached as well, but barring injury, or simply just playing too much damn soccer and getting fatigued, this should be a good move. Here's some reasons why:

Opportunity: Everton are a little desperate, as I mentioned before, and it's not necessarily for a lack of talent. They've got talent, but injuries, suspensions, injuries, maybe simply not finding the right roles for their guys, and injuries has put them behind the eight ball a bit. Which is perfect for Donovan--he's going to get a chance to jump in, maybe play a couple of different roles, and really help.

Confidence: There isn't a soccer league where the defenders hit as hard as they do in the Premiership. And Donovan needs that. He knows at this point in his career he can handle just about anything the MLS has to throw at him, or the CONCACAF during World Cup qualifying. This is only a 2 1/2 month sojourn in the wilds of the Premiership, but it should give Donovan a chance to get used to and grow comfortable in a more physical style of play ahead of the Cup (where we will be seeing a lot of Premiership players in Game 1 against England). Having the best US Player used to the English style is a good thing. (provided he doesn't break a leg learning)

It's A Start: Donovan really should be plying his trade overseas. He's 27, in his prime, and I'm almost angry at him for dicking around in the Retirement Tour that is the MLS. If he's going to be great, he's going to need to play against greatness, and whilst the MLS has improved massively since their first couple of years, they are still light-years behind the professional leagues of England, Spain and Italy (and hell, Germany and France). But this is a start, and maybe once Donovan gets a taste for the big leagues, he'll want to compete there more. And that will only be a good thing for him, and for the US National Team as a whole.

Yahoo's Martin Rogers seems to be thinking in a similar vein, though you can almost make out the skepticism between the lines. If you squint.

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