Soccer legend Landon Donovan swaps field for golf course at LPGA event in Orlando and discusses USMNT’s Copa America prospects

Landon Donovan, the USMNT legend, swapped the soccer field for the golf course at the LPGA’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions earlier this year. Despite his experience on soccer’s biggest stages, he admitted to feeling nervous on the first tee.

No Fear for USMNT in Copa America

While Donovan felt nerves on the golf course, he believes the USMNT should have no fear heading into the Copa America this summer, hosted across eight states in the U.S.

High-Stakes Tournament Kickoff

The tournament began with Argentina and Canada facing off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The U.S. team will compete against formidable opponents like Argentina and Brazil.

Confidence in Young USMNT Squad

Donovan, with 157 international caps, expressed confidence in Gregg Berhalter’s young team, stating that they are capable of taking on any challenge, including playing against Lionel Messi.

Importance of Copa America

Donovan emphasized that the Copa America should not be seen as just a warm-up for the World Cup but as a crucial tournament. As co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup, the U.S. has even more pressure to perform well.

The Need for Meaningful Games

Highlighting the significance of meaningful games, Donovan stressed that this summer’s Copa America is essential for the USMNT’s preparation, as they won’t go through World Cup qualifiers.

Reflecting on Tensions with Beckham

Donovan recalled the tension with David Beckham during their time at LA Galaxy. He initially criticized Beckham for not fully committing to the team but later showed understanding of Beckham’s challenges.

Understanding Beckham’s Struggles

Donovan now appreciates the difficulty of Beckham’s transition from elite European clubs to a struggling MLS team, acknowledging the disparity in facilities, fan engagement, and football quality.

Mutual Respect and Success

Despite early frustrations, Donovan and Beckham ultimately found success together, winning the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cups. Donovan respects Beckham’s commitment and the impact he had on the team.

Beckham’s Lasting Legacy

Donovan praised Beckham’s lasting impact on MLS, both as a player and now as an owner. He believes Beckham’s ability to bring Lionel Messi to MLS as an owner surpasses his achievements as a player, marking a new revolution for the league.

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