SAN DIEGO – The U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS star Landon Donovan had his first coaching experience during the MLS Homegrowns game this past Tuesday, and he enjoyed it so much that he might continue this path.
The MLS Homegrown team led by Donovan played against Club America U-20 as part of the MLS All-Star Week. The game went to a penalty shootout after the regular time draw, and the Mexican club ended up winning the PKs, but that did not change how much Landon enjoyed the experience.
He just had so much fun coaching that we might see him in the sidelines soon again.
[quote_box_center]“This was a week to sort of dip my toe in and see how it felt. I really had a great time,” said Donovan. “I don’t know what the future holds. It depends, obviously, on a lot of things, but I really enjoyed it. If I get another opportunity, then maybe I’ll consider it, yeah.”[/quote_box_center]
The 33 year old who was wearing a polo and an adidas pants, as a suggestion from his wife, sat on the bench for the entire first half and stood up as he got a little more excited through the second half. He admitted that he had some anxiety watching the game from the bench. Coming from a very successful career as a player who was able to control the game, he felt difficult not being able to do make an impact from off the field.
[quote_box_center]“You get caught up in it but the reason is you only spend two days with these guys but you have a connection with them because I see myself there,” said Donovan. “I was there 15 years ago so I know what they’re going through, I know each kid is going through different things based on different things, so your really want them to do well, you’re really pulling for them to do well. [/quote_box_center]
[quote_box_center]“I said to (the assistant coaches) the other day after training that it would be really fun to have this group of guys for a full year to watch them develop and see them grow as people and soccer players. That’d be really enjoyable. Didn’t get enough of that this week, but in the end you really want them to do well.” [/quote_box_center]
It might be early to tell, but it seems that Donovan coaching techniques are resonating well with the players. He was with the U-20 U.S. National Team during the World Cup this year and only received compliments from the players.
The reaction from the MLS Homegrowns team was not much different:
[quote_box_center]”Landon’s the man,” said Erik Palmer-Brown. “He’s been a role model to me, just watching him play with the national team and the LA Galaxy. He’s the man. We played stick-man golf at World Cup. The words I use to describe him is just awesome, he’s an amazing guy, a really great guy, he likes to have fun. Whenever he speaks everyone gets quiet. We want to hear what he has to stay. He’s such a leader, he’s such a great guy, on and off the field. We got the chance to play with him down at U-20 World Cup, he got in as a neutral, he killed it and he still had it.”[/quote_box_center]
Donovan had mentioned before that he would like to work with the younger players, but if that’s the path he choses to go through, he will have a lot of work ahead of him, as he has never taken a coaching class before. Even though he is Landon Donovan, he still has a lot to learn about coaching, but he definitely liked the taste of it coaching the young MLS generation.