Major League Soccer just announced that Landon Donovan will coach the MLS Homegrown Team at the 2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game. The MLS Homegrown Team will face Club American U-20 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 28th. Tickets for the game can be purchased at www.chipotlehomegrown.com. The first 20,000 fans to attend will receive a limited edition scarf.
Donovan was born in Ontario, California started playing competitive soccer when he was the age of 6. He started playing for Cal Heat club soccer, and was then invited to the U.S. Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program. Donovan has played for Everton, Bayern Munich, San Jose Earthquakes, Bayern Leverkusen and the LA Galaxy at the professional level, and also played for the U-17, U-20, U-23 until reaching the senior U.S. national team.
He retired from professional soccer after setting records with the LA Galaxy in 2014 by helping the club win their fifth MLS Cup title, and he will be now on the other side of the game. Donovan, who is probably the most renowned American soccer player in history, left a mark in the MLS as the player with most goals (144) and assists (136). He played in the Major Soccer League for 14 years and won 6 MLS Cups, 2 Supporters’ Shields and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and was also named All-Star player for 14 consecutive times. Donovan not only has an incredible record at the club level but also at the national team, as the also leads in record of goals scored (57) and assists (58).
[quote_box_center]“I am truly honored to coach the MLS Homegrown Team in this year’s Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game. As someone that was developed in MLS, I hope I can provide some insight to these young players and help them reach their goals of becoming successful professionals. It will be a great All-Star week for everyone involved and I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” said Donovan.[/quote_box_center]
The Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game provides a great opportunity for the young talent and the youth development system that the MLS has. Some of these MLS academies have developed amazing players for example LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes who is now at the U.S. National Team among many other players that have excelled at the hometown clubs and made it to the next level. Other players from these Homegrown academies are now in the U-17 and U-20 National Teams as well, including seven of them who participated recently in the U-20 World Cup reaching the quarterfinals. Last year there were 4 Californian players on the roster: Bradford Jamieson IV, Tommy Thompson, Gyasi Zardes and Caleb Calvert. There are over 150 players so far that came out of these academies and have singed professional contracts with MLS clubs.
Landon Donovan, as the head coach of the Homegrown Team, will select his roster for the game the week before the match. These players will come from the pool of Homegrown players nominated by MLS clubs.
MLS also produce a videos series called “Road to the Homegrown Game” with the behind the scenes leading up to the game so fans can see some of the talents that will be playing before the actual game. There will be a total of 6 episodes with selected players in each and their life story. All of the videos can be seen at www.mlssoccer.com/Homegrown.