Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Who Becomes the Next Landon Donovan?

One of the greats of US Soccer has retired and now it’s time to figure out who becomes the new face of US Soccer. We had mentioned before that there will never be another Landon Donovan, and that is true. No one is going to have the exact same career and journey as Landon Donovan, but who is most likely to take over that next greatest American soccer player role for the foreseeable future?

For the sake of argument, current legends such as Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey are excluded from discussion because they are in the second half of their careers. This is about those younger players who still need to enter their prime and can lead this team through the next few World Cups.


Mix Diskerud

Why he may be the next Donovan?

Mix Diskerud is the new #10 for the US Men’s National Team. The Rosenborg player has had a flair for scoring some dramatic goals. Diskerud has thought about coming to MLS and could follow in Donovan’s footsteps in terms of coming back to MLS in the prime of his career.

Why he may not be the next Donovan?

For someone who was worthy enough for wearing the #10 jersey, Diskerud was the only outfield player on the USMNT who didn’t register a single minute of play in the 2014 World Cup. It’s still unknown as to why that was the case but that must leave some doubt as to whether or not Mix can do the job.


Graham Zusi

Why he may be the next Donovan?

When Landon Donovan went on his sabbatical in Cambodia, Graham Zusi stepped in to take over during World Cup qualifying. Zusi burst onto the mainstream soccer scene because of this goal and became the most likable US player in Mexico.

Why he may not be the next Donovan?

At 28, the Sporting Kansas City star is a late bloomer to the US roster. At his age, he will be turning 32 during Russia 2018 so there’s a good chance he may not even be on the roster. He also had a rather rough time at the 2014 World Cup, even though he recorded two assists. Zusi’s stock as a national team player is at its lowest since he joined the team so he has some work to do to get back to his previous form.


Julian Green

Why he may be the next Donovan?

Julian Green is seen as the future of American soccer and has unlimited potential. He plays for one of the best teams in the world, Bayern Munich, and is getting playing time on loan at Hamburger. Green also scored the late goal in the United States/Belgium game in the 2014 World Cup.

Why he may not be the next Donovan?

Julian Green may be playing for one of the best teams in the world but he isn’t getting playing time at one of the best teams in the world. Being on Bayern Munich does have its perks but there’s no substitute for good old fashioned playing time. The 19 year old still has plenty of time to turn things around but he may want to think about a permanent move away from Bayern.


Aron Johannsson

Why he may be the next Donovan?

When I first saw Aron Johannsson, I enjoyed how he was unafraid to take on a defender one-on-one. I never saw that by anyone in a USMNT uniform. Johannsson is also enjoying solid playing time with AZ in the Dutch league, getting a healthy mix of European play and playing time.

Why he may not be the next Donovan?

Aron Johannsson is still an important part of the US Men’s National Team, but he seems to have been passed over for other players at this time. Johannsson may be 24 but he’s being moved over for younger players like Miguel Ibarra and Bobby Wood.


DeAndre Yedlin

Why he may be the next Donovan?

DeAndre Yedlin has SPEED and lots of it. He got his opportunity at the World Cup and has never looked back. Yedlin made the most of his World Cup performance and is making the switch from MLS to Europe by transferring from Seattle to Tottenham this winter.

Why he may not be the next Donovan?

I’ll let you know when we find out if he gets playing time at Tottenham.


Jozy Altidore

Why he may be the next Donovan?

Jozy Altidore is 25 but he is one of the senior players on the National Team. Joey has always tried to better himself in Europe. The Sunderland player has both youth and experience on the USMNT roster.

Why he may not be the next Donovan?

Jozy hasn’t had too much playing time at Sunderland for one thing. He is seeking a move from Sunderland this winter but still wants to play in Europe instead of coming back to MLS. Altidore has also played in two World Cups and has yet to score a goal. Granted, he got hurt with a hamstring injury in the first 20 minutes of the first game against Ghana but he needs to prove himself on the highest stage if he wants to be the next Donovan.


Someone else

Why one of them may be the next Donovan?

Look at the 2014 USMNT World Cup roster. At this point four years ago, we hadn’t heard of over half the people who were on the 23 man roster. There’s still plenty of time between now and 2018 to find plenty of new players who can fit the bill of being the next Donovan.

Why one of them may not be the next Donovan?

A young player may have unlimited talent but anything can happen between now and 2018. For someone to be the next Landon Donovan, they must not only have the talent but the luck that goes with getting the opportunities to fulfill that talent. A lot of circumstances need to fall into place for that to happen. The great thing is, out of this entire population, we only need to find one. I like those odds.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @phillipbupp