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I really want to have fun here

Competing in his first Olympics, 18-year-old Landon Donovan is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team. The forward/midfielder signed a deal with German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in 1999, becoming one of the youngest players in U.S. soccer history to sign a professional contract overseas. Check in with Donovan throughout the Sydney Olympic Games.

September 10, 2000

Canberra, Australia

What's it like to be the youngest guy on the team? And how does it feel to know that you would also be eligible for the 2004 Olympics in Greece?

I guess it's nice to be the young guy on the team, but it also comes with some disadvantages. I am always the one who has to carry the balls and do things when they need to be done. The guys like to tease me a little, but it's all in good fun. I feel very lucky that I will have the chance to play in the next Olympics as well. I would love to go to Greece and experience all this again, but that's some ways down the road.

What do you hope to take with you from these Olympics? (both on and off the field experiences)

As a soccer player, I want to learn everything I can and gain anything I can from this tournament. As a person, I just want to take everything in and truly enjoy myself. I really want to have fun here!

How are things with your club team, Bayer Leverkusen, and do you see yourself going anywhere else anytime soon?

Things are okay in Germany right now. It would obviously be better if I were playing for the first team. It's every player's goal to start for his team. I don't know what the future holds, but I don't want to stay in Germany if I'm not going to be playing.

Have you ever been to Australia before? Is there any tourist spot you hope to visit while you're there?

I have never been to Australia, but I love it so far! I would like to see the Great Barrier Reef if possible, I've heard wonderful things about it!

How will Armas' injury affect the team and how will his absence affect your role?

Losing Armas was a huge loss for us, but I think Sasha is a wonderful player and really deserves to be on the team. I guess losing Armas will help my chances of playing a little, but from a team perspective, I wish he were still here to help us.

What have you been doing outside of practice and the exhibition games to get ready for the Olympics?

I was actually home for about five days before the team got together and I did quite a bit of fitness running as well as weightlifting to get into shape.

What is your travel schedule to Sydney like? And how will you stay busy on the long flight to Sydney?

We left from Los Angeles Wednesday night at 10:45 p.m. and got into Sydney on Friday morning at 7 a.m. local time. The flight wasn't too bad, mainly because I slept for about 8 hours!

How much playing time do you expect to get during the Olympics?

I'm not really sure how much playing time I will get, but I will make the most of every minute I do get. I am ready to do whatever job the coach needs me to.

Will your sister Tristan be able to make it to Australia to see any of your Olympic games?

My sister will be here tomorrow (Monday) and I can't wait! Her presence always raises the level of my game and we will have a great time!

-- Landon

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