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Chat wrap: Landon Donovan

Welcome to's moderated chat room. On Monday, December 23, soccer player Landon Donovan dropped by to take your questions in chat. Donovan recently signed an agreement that will keep him with the San Jose Earthquakes through the 2004 season.

The 20-year-old sensation, who scored two goals for the United States at the World Cup, did not want to return to Germany, where Bayer Leverkusen owns his rights. Under an agreement finalized this week, the forward will remain with Major League Soccer through the 2004 season when the German club can either repurchase his rights, or decline the option, which would allow MLS to retain Donovan on a longterm contract.

Donovan has seven goals in 29 games with the national teams since his international debut in October 2000, and coach Bruce Arena expects him to become a team leader by the time qualifying for the next World Cup starts in 2004.

The following is a transcript of the December 23 chat:

For a list of upcoming chat guests, visit SportsNation.

Moderator: We should be getting started with Landon Donovan here momentarily. Thanks for your patience.

Landon Donovan: I am here and ready to go!

Nathan (Pella, IA): Do you think with you signing with the MLS will help other young stars follow in your footsteps?

Landon Donovan: I would hope so. I think they will realize that although it is intriguing to go overseas with the money and "better competition", it's not always fun over there. It's just nicer to be home. It's nice to be around people that you know and that speak your language. Hopefully, they will.

Jason (Houston): What was the deal breaker with Bayer? Were they not willing to give you first team time? Why not ask them to sell your rights to a team that will give you playing time?

Landon Donovan: I guess I'm just a very loyal person. MLS has done a lot for me. I kind of owe it to the league to be true to them and to myself. I don't want to just be here and few years and leave. I'm not even sure I'm ready to go back. Playing time is a factor but I am just more comfortable here.

Joe (State College): Hello. Do you feel like the top MLS clubs can compete now or will be able to compete soon with the top European club teams? Landon Donovan: Who knows. It's always tough. It's hard because when we do play games against other competition, it's during the offseason and the incentive is there to play. We could compete. Would we win every time? Of course not. But we could compete. We showed in the World Cup we can compete regardless of who we play.

christopher, columbus: hey landon how excited are you to play against argentina next month?

Landon Donovan: That is going to be awesome. My first camp ever for the National Team, we played Argentina. I didn't suit up but we won 1-0. It will be fun to play against players of that caliber.

jeff(dallas): What part of your game are you going to focus on improving this year?

Landon Donovan: I think it's an important as a forward to concentrate on finishing. I want to take more responsibility in demanding the ball more and being more aggressive with the defenders. I want to be a bigger, stronger player.

Perry Stein -New York City: Hi Landon - And thank you for spurning the financial opportunities in Europe to help build soccer in the U.S. For years you've been one of the best young players in the world. However, its never been completely clear - are you a midfielder or a forward. Do you see yourself as evolving into a true number 9 forward or do you see yourself becoming a tab ramos type player who scores some goals but who commands the offensive third of the field and sets up other players for the key shots?

Landon Donovan: It's hard. I feel like my two best attributes are scoring goals and my vision on the field. It's hard to clarify. I think it's more valuable to be able to play two positions or more. Especially on the national team. They know they can use you in up to four different positions. I see myself as both.

Landon Donovan: It's hard. I feel like my two best attributes are scoring goals and my vision on the field. It's hard to clarify. I think it's more valuable to be able to play two positions or more. Especially on the national team. They know they can use you in up to four different positions. I see myself as both.

Arlee,Puerto Rico: hey Landon...what do you want for Christmas?

Landon Donovan: Good question.. I am fortunate in that I have everything I need. I just hope that I and my family stay healthy and safe. What else do you need to ask for? Especially in today's day and age.

But.. if you want to go the materialist route .. I am trying to buy a house that I absolutely love. I hope that goes through.

Andy, London: Is there truth in the widely-held belief that teams comprised of European-based players were burnt out at the World Cup - or were the 'surprise' performers - including the USA and South Korea - simply better prepared?

Landon Donovan: It could be a mixture of both. Without a doubt, nobody really realizes how beat up you get over the course of the year. But at the same time, I think we were for sure one of the fittest teams in the WC, as well as South Korea and Senegal. We were all really fit. If you can get at it for 90 minutes, you will compete with anyone.

john Anaheim: Do you get haggled a lot from fans for autographs and such because your considered an American soccer "superstar?"

Landon Donovan: It's usually not too bad. It's nothing unbearable. At soccer related events it can be a little bit of an hassle, but not too bad.

Jon (Bronx, NY): With the success of players like players like Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller in England, do you feel that a move to the Premiership might be something to consider in the near future?

Landon Donovan: That wouldn't happen for at least two years. But we'll see. You never know.

Matt (Redlands, CA): Landon, the hometown folks here in Redlands are proud of the example you are setting for our town and kids across the country. Tell me, do you miss Cuca's when you're in the Bay Area??? P.S. How come even though you're on FIFA 2003 (which is cool), the gameplay is totally weak compared to FIFA 2002??

Landon Donovan: Yeah, I got pretty much everytime I am home. I love that place!

Andy (Bremerton WA): Have you and your team mates attended Coaches Licensing Clinics to help you when you work youth teams. Any consideration to becoming a coach someday?

Landon Donovan: Yeah, I think that would be fun. I'm not sure I have the patience though. I will most likely do it someday.

Bradford (Glocester RI): Landon, how good do you think our Olympic side will be in 2004 and who do you predict to be among the top 4 or 5 players on the team?

Landon Donovan: I would hope we would be just as good if not better. It's hard to say who would be there because it is a couple years out. The thing you have to remember, is you get the three overage players which we used well last time.

Demarcus Beasley, Bobby Conway, Kelly Grey and probably one or two of our overage players.

Chris (Little Rock): Landon, Most of all, with respect to your decision to play soccer in the U.S., if this is what you desire, more power to you. However, wouldn't you agree that for the U.S. to further emerge as a world soccer power (i.e., to take the next step), more U.S. players are going to have to display and prove their talents in Europe? Thanks, Chris

Landon Donovan: I disagree in that either way we will be OK. By that token, if all players go overseas, our leagues could go under. You need to remember that without a league here, we wouldn't have a lot of the good palyers we have. It's 6 and one half dozen of the other.

Thanks for all the questions.. and thanks for the continued support. I appreciate it.

Take care everyone.

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