Landon Donovan is hanging up his cleats, the Major League Soccer star announced Thursday on his Facebook fan page.
“After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player,” he began. “I don’t write these words lightly and this day carries mixed emotions for me. I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy.”
He continued, “After spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person.”
Donovan thanked his fellow players, his coaches, family, friends and fans in the letter: “I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career,” he wrote. “And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.”
Donovan was famously cut from the U.S. men’s team just before this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, despite being the all-time leading goal scorer for the national team. He served as a games analyst for ESPN instead.
His retirement announcement comes one day after he was named Most Valuable Player of the league’s All-Star Game for scoring
Among Donovan’s other achievements, he will retire as the top goal-scorer in MLS history. The Los Angeles Galaxy, Donovan’s MLS club for the past decade, is expected to host a news conference on Thursday afternoon.
Below is Donovan’s letter announcing he is leaving the MLS: