Landon Donovan, the coach? While it may be too early to say that the former U.S. legend has found his new calling, Donovan has been named coach for the MLS Homegrown Team for their match against Club America Under-20s on Tuesday, July 28 (9 p.m. ET) as part of the league's All-Star Game week. We chatted with Donovan about his new role and whether the U.S. is on the right track for player development. (Editors' note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
ESPN FC: First of all, congratulations...
CHESTER, Pa. -- In the previous five editions of the Russia Board (see links for each below), Clint Dempsey's name has been nowhere to be found, and for good reason: While nobody doubts the 32-year-old now-former U.S. captain's ability or single-minded desire to score goals, he'll be 35 by the time the 2018 World Cup rolls around.
Sure, players like Germany's Miroslav Klose -- a guy who U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann happens to know well -- have been productive at the highest level at that age. Realistically, though, it was always hard to see Dempsey making it that far. Time catches up to most strikers, even great ones, long before then.
But now, who knows? Dempsey was easily the best American player during the national team's disappointing Gold Cup run this month. Not only did he lead the tournament in scoring with seven goals, he accounted for more than half of the U.S. squad's production all by himself. And given the fact that no other member of Klinsmann's side looks even remotely capable of filling his shoes, it's time to assume that Dempsey will still have a role to play three summers from now in Russia. That's not to say it will happen though. Three years might as well be an eternity in soccer; just 21 months ago, MLS coaches unanimously said if they had the opportunity, they'd take Landon Donovan on their teams over Deuce. Less than two years later, Donovan is retired, while Dempsey, through sheer force of will, is playing as well as ever.
The Texan has something else going for him, too: because he played three seasons of college soccer before moving to MLS at 20, his legs have significantly fewer games on them than his peers who turned pro in their teens. Given all that, it would be foolish to count Dempsey out just yet.
Here's our latest projection of the U.S. starting lineup and roster for the 2018 World Cup, including scouting notes, analysis and a confidence ranking for each starter. (Ages and experience as of July 27.)
The United States had a Gold Cup to forget, as it was dumped out by Jamaica in the semifinals. Jeff Carlisle, Doug McIntyre and Jason Davis take a look at where Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. go from here.
Should Klinsmann's future be in doubt?
Davis (@DavisJsn): Absolutely. Even without considering the cost to the federation and Klinsmann's mandate to push the United States national team forward tactically and stylistically, he has overseen the worst performance in the Gold Cup since...