Donovan Debuts As ESPN Analyst, Immediately Disagrees With U.S. Coach Klinsmann
Galaxy F Landon Donovan is serving as an analyst for ESPN during the FIFA World Cup, and in his first on-air appearance he "immediately ripped" U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for saying the squad cannot realistically be expected to win the event, according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Donovan, who was controversially left off the U.S. World Cup roster, said, “This will come as a surprise to nobody, but I don’t agree with Jurgen." Bondy reports Donovan joining ESPN's coverage "came as something of an unpleasant surprise to U.S. Soccer, since he was still in theory eligible to be added to the team roster over the next three days, in case of an injury." U.S. Soccer did "not know about the arrangement with ESPN until the network made the announcement" late yesterday morning. Donovan is "thought to want a future in broadcasting" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/12). Donovan will serve as a studio analyst based in L.A. focusing on the U.S. team's three group stage matches. He will appear on pre- and post-match segments, halftimes and editions of "SportsCenter," "World Cup Tonight" and other shows (ESPN). ESPN President John Skipper: "We're going to have him concentrate on the day before the U.S. games, the day of the U.S. games. It is not our expectation to put him on the spot." He added, "We're much more interested in tactics and his reaction to how they are playing. He knows the team" (AP, 6/11). U.S. F Jozy Altidore, when asked if it was odd Donovan was joining ESPN, said, "Not really. Landon is a smart guy. He knows the game very well. It was always going to happen, right, him to be a commentator?" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/11).
GALAXY QUEST: In Las Vegas, Kira Terry reports the Galaxy yesterday released a 49-second video showing what Donovan "will be doing during the World Cup." The YouTube video, titled “Skip Work. Watch the World Cup,” shows Donovan, dressed in a U.S. uniform, "sitting alone in the Galaxy offices at the StubHub Center taking calls, getting frustrated that no one else is working." He later is shown "playing some foosball by himself." It shows that "even Donovan has a sense of humor" about Klinsmann’s roster decision (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/12).