First off, I must admit that I hate it in sports when a person is titled Best Ever. Is Michael Jordan the best basketball player ever? If I were to say no then people would be all over me. They would name his championship titles, MVP trophies, signature dunks, and Gatorade commercials as evidence of this. And my only response would be what about Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain? So in other words being the best in something often is a matter of taste and opinion rather then definitive truth.
With that being said, I would go as far as to say that Landon Donovan might be that guy for American soccer. He has been the most significant player in the last decade without any comparison. And the international results in the last ten years have been much improved on the results we were seeking prior to the 1990’s in World Cups. But can Donovan be single handily praised for these results or is he just one piece of the pie?
Donovan has been more then just a small part of U.S.success for a variety of reasons. One statistic that leans heavily in Landon’s favor is the fact that he is now the leader in U.S. international goals scored. Sure he takes penalty kicks and that doesn’t hurt, but being number one in this statistic doesn’t hurt. Secondly, Donovan has won the Honda U.S. Player of the Year Award six times in the last ten years which makes him the U.S. Player of the Decade beyond a reasonable doubt.
And the final reason why Donovan might be the best American player ever is because of how much better he makes everyone else on the U.S. team around him when he is in the game. And that is what great players are really known for.