It's official: Donovan stays
By Dylan Hernandez
Posted on Wed, Dec. 18, 2002
He was exhausted and his surgically cleaned right ankle still felt tender, but Landon Donovan was in good spirits.
At Wednesday's press conference in San Jose officially announcing Major League Soccer's co-sharing agreement with German club Bayer Leverkusen that will allow him to play domestically for the next two seasons, Donovan joked and smiled, though he barely slept the night before.
On Tuesday, the Earthquakes forward flew out of Florida, where he was training with the under-23 national team. He missed his connecting flight from Los Angeles to San Jose, had to board the last plane headed to San Francisco and drive for an hour.
"It's all part of it," shrugged Donovan, who was scheduled to fly to New York later Wednesday for more press functions.
By "it," Donovan meant getting what he wanted, which was to remain with the Quakes.
Whether or not that would happen was more of concern to him than his right ankle, which had bone spurs removed from it last month by Dr. Art Ting. The surgery kept him athletically inactive until this week, when he began running at the U-23 camp. But even there, he didn't take part in any scrimmages or drills that required him to touch the ball.
"It's no big deal," said San Jose assistant coach Dominic Kinnear, himself a former national team player. "I had those, too."
Throughout MLS's negotiations with Leverkusen, Donovan asked his agent, Richard Motzkin, not to tell him anything until both sides reached a definite agreement.
"I didn't want to get my hopes up," he said. "He told me it was looking very good a week ago."
Donovan said he is uncertain of what will happen in two years, when Leverkusen, which he signed with in 1999, has the option to recall him.
"I am forever changing," he said. "When I was 16, I wanted to go to Germany. When I was 18, I wanted to come back. Maybe in two years I'll want to ... "
He paused for a beat.
The audience laughed.
"Maybe I'll want to be a rock star."
Donovan has not yet re-signed with MLS but said the terms of the deal have been agreed upon.
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