ESPN has hired Landon Donovan to offer commentary on the U.S. soccer team he was cut from just before the World Cup.
The all-time U.S. leader in goals and assists, the 32-year-old Donovan was dropped last month in a highly debated move by coach Jurgen Klinsmann. He made his debut during ESPN’s World Cup preview show Wednesday.
Donovan will work out of the company’s Los Angeles studios, with a particular focus on his former team. He will provide analysis before and after the Americans’ group-stage matches and during halftime. Donovan will also appear on shows such as “SportsCenter.”
Donovan scored a U.S.-record five goals over the last three World Cups.
U.S. scrimmage with Belgium cancelled
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots didn’t want to get caught in one of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s famous traffic jams, so Thursday’s scrimmage between the Red Devils and the United States was canceled. The closed-door session had been scheduled to take place at the Sao Paulo Futebol Clube, where the U.S. has been training since Monday. Belgium has been working out about 30 miles away in Mogi das Cruzes.
The U.S. Soccer Federation said that Wilmots and American coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke and called off the scrimmage. A recent subway strike made Sao Paulo’s traffic congestion worse than normal.
Sao Paulo is known for traffic congestion, which was made worse by a subway strike that began last Thursday and was suspended Monday. While the strike was halted, the union said it could resume Thursday when Brazil hosts Croatia in the World Cup opener.
Wilmots said that he “will not take the risk to go to Sao Paulo, looking at the possibility of a strike and traffic jams.”
“I don’t want to sit in a bus for five hours,” he added.
FIFA plans to pay out $200 million in total bonuses to its national members and confederations from its World Cup revenue of an estimated $4.5 billion. Each of the 209 member countries will get $250,000 this month and should get a further $500,000 early next year. The six continental bodies will get $2.5 million this month and $4.5 million more next year. … England striker Danny Welbeck was missing from the opening section of England’s World Cup training session on Wednesday after being reported to have an injury. Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also missing from the open 15 minutes of training as he recovers from a right knee injury. … Striker Romelu Lukaku resumed training with Belgium’s World Cup squad showing no apparent effect from a right ankle strain he sustained last weekend.