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Landon Donovan Wins Honda Player of the Year

As one of the most talented players in U.S. soccer history, it should really come as no surprise that Landon Donovan has assaulted the record books. Currently, Donovan holds the U.S. National team records for goals scored and total assists and on Tuesday he won his fifth Honda U.S. Player of the Year award. Donovan is the only player to have received the award more than twice. The Galaxy star was also the youngest player to ever win the award, when he first claimed it back in 2002.

2008 was undoubtedly a good year for Donovan individually. Despite being on one of Major League Soccer’s most disappointing teams, the L.A. Galaxy, the 26-year-old managed to win the MLS Golden Boot while continuing to play a large part in the U.S. National Team. Donovan racked up an impressive 20 goals and 9 assists for the Galaxy in MLS play and scored three times for the U.S. National team, including twice in World Cup qualifiers.

“I appreciate this honor. It is very special to me,” said Donovan, who is currently training with German giants Bayern Munich and was not on hand to accept the award. “This year has been by far my best year as a professional and I'm proud of that. It's nice to be honored as such.

Donovan’s training stint in Germany could be a precursor to a European move in January for the U.S.’s most decorated player.

“I'm checking it out here for the next couple of weeks,” Donovan said. ”We'll see what happens. You guys will all understand why I couldn't pass this chance up. Keep your fingers crossed for me.”

The other two nominees - runner up Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey who finished third- were also unable to attend, but were happy for Donovan.

“Congratulations to Landon. He's had a great year and he deserves credit,” said Howard. The goalkeeper has never won the award, but has been a vital part of the U.S. National Team under Bob Bradley.

Dempsey has been equally as important for the U.S. in 2008, but a diminished role for his club team of late may have been a deciding factor in his finishing third in the Player of the Year voting.

“Congratulations on receiving this award,” said Dempsey, the 2006 award winner. “It's been a pleasure playing with Landon and working together in qualifying.”

Donovan was equally gracious to both of his competitors and mentioned that both of them would have been deserving winners.

The next challenge for Donovan, Howard, and Dempsey with the National team will be the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying which the U.S. has already qualified for. None of the three finalists will play for Bob Bradley’s side when they conclude the semifinal stage of qualifying against Guatemala.

--Allen Ramsey, Goal.com