SAN JOSE, California (AP)— Bayer Leverkusen exercised an option on American soccer star Landon Donovan and could bring him back to Germany next season.
Donovan has been playing for Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes under a co-sharing deal with the German club. MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis said on Thursday that he hopes to extend the deal and keep Donovan in the United States.
"We have an excellent relationship and a great deal of respect for Leverkusen and have expressed our wish to discuss Landon's future with the club and, importantly, with Landon at the appropriate time before the end of the year," Gazidis said. "Our desire, of course, is to keep Landon in MLS for the long term and we know he is happy here."
Donovan, the U.S. player of the year the past two seasons, joined Bayer Leverkusen in February 1999 and is in the fourth year of a co-sharing agreement with the Earthquakes.
"I look forward to working with MLS and Bayer Leverkusen to plan my future," Donovan said in a statement released on MLSnet.com. "I am happy playing in MLS and for the Earthquakes, and I am excited about the possibility of winning more MLS Cup championships here in San Jose while also leading the U.S. national team back to the World Cup."