Meeting with reporters for the first time since Klinsmann told him he was not one of the 23 best American players on the planet, Donovan could not hold back his contempt for the decision and the national team coach:
“Based on my performances leading up to camp, based on my preparation for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my workload, based on the way I trained and played in camp,” he said, “I not only thought I was part of the 23, I thought I was in contention to start. So that’s why this has all been pretty disappointing.”
Donovan said his performance at the Stanford University sessions had him believing he could
“contribute in a real big way, probably bigger than I expected going in.”
When Klinsmann met with the media on Friday he said that
“The coaches feel that the players we chose are a little step a head of Landon in certain areas.”
That was a assessment that all-time U.S. leader in goals (57) and assists (58) disagreed with saying:
“I don’t agree with that assessment,” he said. “I think I was at least as good as everyone else in camp, so from that standpoint, I don’t agree with it. I think you guys who know me well know I’m pretty honest when it comes to my assessment. When I say I don’t play well, I didn’t play well; when I say I played well, In think I played well, and I think I trained and played very well in camp.
“I think I was one of the better players. and so that’s why it stings a little. I think at the end of the day, like I said before camp, if I had gone in and didn’t feel like I deserved it, then I can live with that. But that’s not the case here.”
Donovan then was asked whether he thought that the decision not to take him to Brazil was personal and not performance. His answer was succinct.
“I think if I’m being judged solely on what happened in camp, then I absolutely deserved to be going to Brazil.”