U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said during a conference call Thursday that Donovan is “always in our plans, absolutely.” He said he got no indication that players questioned Donovan’s injuries. Klinsmann said he plans to reach out to Donovan and invite him to lunch or dinner after the MLS playoffs.
“It’s really down to him, himself, what he wants to further achieve in his career, what he wants to do,” the coach said. “Whatever he decides to do will be very respected by us.”
If he does decide to quit, it would be a huge loss for U.S. Soccer and MLS. Donovan is not only one of the most skilled and dedicated players this country has ever seen, but he also is a true professional when it comes to his commitments to the fans and media. Here’s hoping he gets reenergized and sticks around two more years.
As for the rest of the U.S. team, Klinsmann is optimistic heading into the final round of qualifying, which begins Feb. 6.
“It is a work-in-progress and a positive work-in-progress,” he said. “We’ve tried to push up the back line further and further, we’ve tried to play in the opponent’s half more and more and we try to keep the ball and rotate and play one-two touches fast. This is a process that will take time. I’m pleased with the process. The players understand with every camp we are together they understand better and better.
“The year was highly interesting. We had, overall, about 45 or 46 different players going through the program. We tried to evaluate every one of them and take a closer look at them. It’s been great to see some people breaking into the team, making a mark. Some youngsters, whether it’s a Joe Corona, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson or Graham Zusi coming through the ranks now, too. It’s also good to see players on an individual level stepping it up with their club teams, getting to bigger clubs and more meaningful competitions and in environments where they are even more under pressure and challenged and we’re curious to follow them throughout their whole season to see how they’re doing there.”
• Box office: The national teams of Venezuela and Nigeria play an exhibition match at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 at Marlins Park. Tickets are available at marlins.com.