November 19, 2009 (Los Angeles) - Physically, he still plays in the same geographical area where he first found success on the youth soccer fields of his Cal South days, but Landon Donovan has come a very, very long way since then. The surest proof of this came on Thursday, when Donovan was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2009 Major League Soccer season.
Donovan, the former Cal South ODP and Cal Heat SC standout who will now likely lead the Men's National Team through next year's World Cup, won the award for the first time in his career by beating out New England's Shalrie Joseph and FC Dallas striker Jeff Cunningham. He is only the second Galaxy player to win the award, following striker Carlos Ruiz, who took MVP honors in 2002.
Donovan will be seeking his fourth championship title this Sunday, when his Galaxy will take on Real Salt Lake in Seattle in the MLS Cup Final. He previously won MLS titles with the San Jose Earthquakes (2001 and 2003) and with the Galaxy in 2005. Donovan led the Galaxy this year in scoring with 12 goals and six assists in 25 games.
MLS Most Valuable Players
2009-Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)
2008-Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew)
2007-Luciano Emilio (D.C. United)
2006-Christian Gomez (D.C. United)
2005-Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
2004-Amado Guevara (New York/New Jersey MetroStars)
2003-Preki (Kansas City Wizards)
2002-Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy)
2001-Alex Pineda Chacon (Miami Fusion)
2000-Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards)
1999-Jason Kreis (Dallas Burn)
1998-Marco Etcheverry (D.C. United)
1997-Preki (Kansas City Wizards)
1996-Carlos Valderrama (Tampa Bay Mutiny)
Photo: Landon Donovan holds his 2009 MLS Most Valuable Player award. Credit: Robert Mora / Associated Press