A forward and midfielder who was chosen as the winner of the Honda Award, given to the outstanding U.S. national team player, seven times and was named the USSF men’s athlete of the year four times.
Donovan, who played for the U.S. national team from 2000 to 2014, played 157 full internationals in those years, including 12 games at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups and 40 World Cup qualifiers between 2001 and 2013. Those games left him second only to Cobi Jones on the list of all-time national team appearance leaders. The 57 goals that Donovan scored for the U.S. national team tied him with Clint Dempsey as the all-time goalscoring leader for the U.S. men’s team. Perhaps the most famous among them was the stoppage-time goal that gave the United States a 1-0 win over Algeria at the 2010 World Cup and boosted it into the second round of that World Cup. Donovan’s five World Cup goals also included particularly famous ones against Mexico in 2002 and Slovenia in 2010. A goal that he scored against Ghana in 2010 made him the first American since Bert Patenaude in 1930 to score three goals in a World Cup.
Donovan played 15 seasons in MLS between 2001 and 2016, the first four with the San Jose Earthquakes and the last 11 with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and when he retired was the all-time MLS goalscoring leader. Over the course of those seasons, he scored 145 goals in 340 regular-season games, and 25 more in 44 playoff games. His teams won the MLS championship six times, in 2001 and 2003 when he was with San Jose and in 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2014 when he was with Los Angeles. He was named to the MLS postseason Best XI seven times, and won the MLS most valuable player award in 2009.
In addition to his World Cup play, Donovan was a member of the United States teams at the 2000 Olympic Games and the 2003 and 2009 Confederations Cup (where he scored a goal in the final against Brazil) and the United States teams that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2013. In 2013, he was named to the U.S. men’s national team all-time Best XI by the USSF.
Donovan never established himself as a regular star in European club soccer, struggling in several seasons in Germany in his early 20s, although he did fare much better in two partial loan seasons with Everton in the English Premier League nearly a decade later. His partial seasons in England and Mexico helped to raise his career total of first-division and national team games to 576. He initially retired in 2014, but briefly unretired in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Elected in 2023.