Despite being left off the U.S. roster, Landon Donovan will have a presence at this year’s World Cup, which kicks off Thursday.
ESPN said Wednesday that it has hired who many consider to be the best soccer player in U.S. history to be part of its World Cup coverage. Donovan will make his debut Wednesday during ESPN’s World Cup preview show at 3 p.m.
During the tournament, Donovan will work out of ESPN’s Los Angeles studios and particularly focus on the U.S. team and their three group stage matches; the U.S.’ first game is set for next Monday against Ghana. He will contribute to pre-match, halftime and post-match coverage on ESPN and ABC, editions of SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight and other shows.
“Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup because he knows the United States team better than anyone having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior VP and executive producer. “Landon is also one of this country’s biggest sports stars and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our month-long coverage."
Ever since he was left off the National Team roster for this year’s World Cup by new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, speculation began if either ESPN or Fox (who will have a presence in Brazil) would try to hire Donovan.