Forward - US Men's National Team
Eastbay Copywriter, T. Scharfenberg | Videography, C. Wild
A Master in the Maestri
When you play in the national team's system for fifteen years there's no question you're doing some serious things right. Skim over Landon Donovan's list of honors, including last year's MLS Cup MVP award, and you'd think he was the model of unwavering consistency.
He tells us there's more to it than that, though. "I pride myself on being creative on the field. I try to be predictable for my teammates, but unpredictable for the opponent. I think that's what has made me successful so far."
Landon's success started long ago, growing up surrounded by sports. Although, it wasn't always all soccer in Landon's family. "My dad's family is Canadian, so I kind of have hockey in my blood. I had no choice. Once in awhile I still get to go out onto a rink with my dad and play." Because of his family's varied athletic interests, Landon also looked up to more than just professional soccer players, and for very good reason. "I always looked up to Wayne Gretzky and Magic Johnson. I liked their ability to see the field as a whole. They could see things as they were happening and make plays. They were great goal scorers but were also great passers. I tried to emulate that and tried to play that way."
He's kept that vision of the game, throughout his long professional career. Landon's CTR360 cleats are his perfect match, the meeting of consistency and surprise, with the ability to control the game all over the field. When he switched to the CTR Maestri a few years back, he was hesitant about the uncertainty of getting used to a different boot. But he tells us the cleats have really grown on him: "What I like most about them is that I can literally wear them straight out of the box. Very recently, I got the shoes on game day and wore them right then. The material is very soft. I know exactly what the ball is going to do when it hits my foot, and that goes a long way toward making you feel comfortable on the field."
Off-the-field work is just as important to Landon, who is involved with several great causes. When we asked him what accomplishment he was most proud of, he replied by telling us that has changed over the years. After such a long and successful soccer career, his off-the-field work has become just as important. "The things I'm most proud of are the things I've been able to do because of the platform that soccer have given me, the things that help other people. We get a lot of opportunities to do things with Make A Wish kids, which is very cool."
The next place you'll be seeing Donovan and his CTR360's on display is when they work together to help the USA qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. After that, there's no gray area for Landon: "If I want to keep playing and I'm still enjoying it, that's what I'll do." That's also his advice to younger athletes in any sport: "If you're not enjoying it, don't do it and find something else you enjoy doing. I think that's one of the simple but overlooked secrets in life."
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