Donovan’s dramatic goal will bring him riches

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Donovan’s dramatic goal will bring him riches
« on: June 24, 2010, 12:01:22 pm »
By Martin Rogers

IRENE, South Africa – Landon Donovan’s career will never be same after his dream World Cup goal – and neither will his bank balance.

Donovan’s memories of his injury-time goal against Algeria that kept the United States in the tournament are priceless. But there is also a very tangible side effect to that unforgettable moment, both to the midfielder’s wealth and his future prospects.

“It only took a couple of seconds, but it changed Donovan’s life forever,” said sports economics and advertising expert Paul Ridley, owner of leading London sports business firm Paul Ridley Limited. “Donovan is going to be a hot commodity after this and as long as he is managed correctly, $10 million is very attainable.”

[Photos: See more of U.S. star Landon Donovan]

The blueprint is there.

“Donovan can copy a little bit from David Beckham,” said Ridley, who launched Manchester United’s in-house television channel and has clients in Britain and the U.S. “He needs to carefully select the brands he wants to be associated with and make sure they fit his image – Brand Landon if you like.”

So, get used to seeing Donovan on your television screens for quite some time. The soccer buzz that accompanies a World Cup will obviously dissipate after the tournament ends and the American sports scene returns to its typical state.

Yet Donovan’s dramatic strike with just seconds remaining at Loftus Versfeld Stadium sent his star soaring and will greatly increase his marketability. He has gone from being just a soccer player, albeit America’s most famous one, to a clutch performer on the biggest stage of all.

And $10 million could be just the tip of the iceberg, compared to the money Donovan could earn playing club soccer in Europe.

It now appears increasingly likely that he will leave the Los Angeles Galaxy this summer, with a string of European clubs interested in his services. Money-wise, pretty much everyone wins.

The Galaxy and Major League Soccer will be able to command a transfer fee of around $12 million, while USA Soccer will receive a boost that can’t be quantified, from the team’s continued involvement in the tournament.

Donovan himself, of course, may now be looking at a contract worth up to $4 million per year, which would set a new record for an American player.

“Any time there is a big event – and the World Cup is the biggest, it is an opportunity to see how far U.S. soccer has come,” head coach Bob Bradley said.

“Our main responsibility is as a team and a nation. When we play well as a team it can open doors.

“We have seen some of our players have success, but there [are] next levels for that. There are bigger clubs, and opportunities to play in the Champions League; I know that is what some of our players are aiming for.”

Donovan talks about whatever topic is put in front of him, but there is one subject he has steadfastly refused to answer: his future.

“I live in the present now,” he said. “The future will take care of itself.”

Financially, the future got taken care of on Wednesday night.