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Interview W/ Landon Donovan


I had the chance to sit down with Earthquakes 19 year old striker Landon Donovan at a recent practice. In a series of upcoming interviews I'll be chatting with Landon as the 2001 MLS series comes to a close. In this first chat I asked Landon some general questions about his time in Germany and the Earthquakes season so far.- Alex Hunter

What are your reactions to what's happened it the nation over the last few weeks?
Obviously it's shocking and surprising. I think it's hard for us on the West Coast to grasp the whole reality of it because we don't see it, you know, we're not around it as much as the other people are, but I mean it's just devastating, terrible.

What's your reaction to the Earthquakes season thus far?
It's been fantastic. I don't think anyone expected us to be here. So we've exceeded all expectations except our own and we want to continue on and get to the final.

What happened in Miami?
(laughs) It was a soccer match turned into a rugby match - it was pretty bad; but it's alright, it's past us now, we just have to move on.

Does it do anything for your confidence that they feel the only way to contain you is to take you out physically?
If that's how they want to play that's fine; usually you get punished for playing that way, you get sent off or get a lot of yellow cards and usually that stops someone but if they just have free reign to go kick us then I think they should do it (laughs) if the refs aren't going to control it they can keep doing it (AH -Do you think the smaller field at Spartan will help that?) Oh yeah for sure.

We all read about your time in Germany...but what was it like from a personal point of view on and off the field?
On the field I learned a lot; I could have learned a lot more playing obviously But off the field, I had to grow up fast. I was by myself and people are...not the most friendly (laughs) So I had to deal with a lot of things but it was good for me.

Were there any players who took you under their wing and helped you acclimatize to German life?
Frankie Hejduk was there and we hung out a lot. It wasn't necessarily taking me under his wing but it was good for two Americans to be together.

Players like Taylor Twellman and Conor Casey are plying their trade in the lower leagues of the Bundesliga; do u think that's better for them than doing what you're doing, coming on loan to the MLS?
No, I think they should be here and I think they would probably agree; in the third division and fourth division you're not learning soccer its more people fighting for their livelihood. It's rough and it's tough and it's people who want to make money to survive and they're not playing good soccer, it's just whatever it takes to win, so it doesn't help your development.

Do you think we'll see a few more of the Americans in Germany and Europe come back over here.
I hope so, obviously it's up to them but I think it would help their game a lot. ~

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