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Chat Reel: Landon Donovan
New addition to MLS' Quakes aims for playoffs in 2001

CNNSI Host: Welcome to today's MLS chat with Landon Donovan -- thanks for joining us!

Landon Donovan: Welcome everybody and thanks for chatting. Good to be here. Sorry we're late.

From mcartwright: Landon, how are the ribs and when do you think you will be ready to start playing again?

Landon Donovan: The ribs are actually much better than we first anticipated. I got an x-ray yesterday to check up on them. Turns out they're not cracked; it's just a deep bruise. It's now the coach's decision on whether he wants to throw me in. I'm still a little scared, but it's healing a lot more quickly than I initially anticipated.

From Gregory Zalasky in Clinton, N.Y.: Do you feel a burden to become the great American scorer that U.S. soccer fans have been hoping for?

Landon Donovan: Not at all. I feel more confidently that our national team as a whole is getting better and better. I don't feel like we need to put the burden on one player or two players. The national team is getting better and I'm just a small piece of that.

From Nadir Ahmad in Providence, R.I.: Dear Landon, Who is your ideal strike partner on the national team and do you feel that you are a stronger player after playing in the Bundesliga reserves?

Landon Donovan: My ideal strike partner would probably be Brian McBride, just because our styles contrast so much. He's a bigger, stronger player, but he's a lot better technically than people think. He does things that I can't do. He holds the ball and wins balls in the air. That just makes it easier to do the things that I need to do. And no, I don't feel that I got much better playing with the reserves.

From Jason Doshier in Fairfax, Va.: Why did you leave Europe for the MLS and not just join another European team that didn't already have a team full of stars?

Landon Donovan: It wasn't a situation where I was going out and soliciting offers and looking for different clubs. It was more that I wanted to play and it just worked out that I got to come to MLS.

From Scud in Syracuse, N.Y.: What's it like rooming with DaMarcus? Do you guys have similar tastes and who controls the remote? Best of luck, we're all pulling for you!

Landon Donovan: Thank you very much, first of all. DaMarcus is the ideal roommate for me, because our personalities mesh really well. He doesn't come in late, he's not messy he's not an annoying roommate. It makes things really easy. We don't really have anyone who controls the remote. Just whoever wants to stay up and watch TV. We generally agree on when we're going to stay up and when we're going to sleep.

From Michael Polonski in Detroit, Mich.: Hi Landon. Just wondering what your short-term expectations are for the Earthquakes this year. The team is obviously stronger. How do you think you and the team will do in the 2001 season?

Landon Donovan: In the 2001 season, obviously everyone's expectations here are to make the playoffs as a starting point. We're going to take it game by game, starting this weekend. And we're going to hope to get a result in every game we play. We just want to be competitive.

From Kenneth in Richardson, Texas: In your opinion, what is the best way for Americans to improve, to become more of a contender for the World Cup? This may be some time away. How far along are we as a nation?

Landon Donovan: I think we're taking all the right steps now. We have a lot of young players who are going professional. We have a league here that is developing tremendously. I think it's as long as we want it to be. I think we're there now, even in 2002 -- if we qualify. We have the talent and we're competitive enough.

From bens: Do you think you will get a piece of the action in World Cup 2002?

Landon Donovan: I certainly hope so. That's obviously a ways away. That's not my decision, but I hope so.

From Bill in Dover Plains, N.Y.: How does it feel to play for the MLS? Do you think you will miss playing Germany? What do you want to do while you are in San Jose?

Landon Donovan: I might miss Germany very minutely. A tiny bit. But overall I'm happy to be home. Obviously, I want to go to San Francisco and check out the Bay Area and enjoy myself. I want to check out the sights just like anybody would.

From Tim in Lincoln: Landon, which aspect of your game do you feel needs the most work?

Landon Donovan: Just the overall physical part. I just need to want the ball against bigger defenders and be willing to get beat up a little bit.

From mcartwright: Thanks for finally coming back to the States! My question is what is your relationship with Nike, and what are their plans to market you, as you seem to be the perfect "poster child" for the future of American soccer?

Landon Donovan: Thank you. I really don't know what their plans are. You'd get a better answer from them directly. But I hope they have some plans that will help me and help U.S. soccer as well.

From Irvin Smith in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Since some high profile foreigners have come into the league and struggled, most recently Luis Hernandez and Khaodad Azizi, are you concerned about having success in MLS?

Landon Donovan: No, I think I'm a different kind of player from them. They're veterans who have proven themselves and have already made money. I don't see myself as that type of player. I'm still trying to make a name for myself. I still have a lot to prove so I'm going to work hard everyday.

From Adam Welch in Seattle, Wash.: Do you think that the younger U.S. attacking players have a more sophisticated style of play than in previous years?

Landon Donovan: I think we're less afraid to take risks. I think we've been taught better. Most of all though, we're not afraid. We're just going to go out there and play hard no matter who we're playing against.

From Brian Choquette in Boston, MA: Landon, what number will you wear with the Earthquakes this season?

Landon Donovan: I'm going to wear No. 10. It's my preferred number and it just so happened that it was available. So it worked out nicely.

From Jimmy Conrad in San Jose, Calif.: Landon, Now that we're teammates, how do you feel about me kicking you in practice?

Landon Donovan: [Laughs] Hopefully we'll be on the same team so I don't have to worry about that.

CNNSI Host: That's all the time we have today with Landon Donovan. Thanks for joining us Landon and good luck this season!

Landon Donovan: Thanks everyone!

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