Galaxy to feature statue of former star Landon Donovan at Dignity Health Sports Park

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FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2016, file photo, Los Angeles Galaxy's Landon Donovan acknowledges fans after the team's MLS soccer match against Orlando City in Carson, Calif. Donovan knew what had to be done even if meant bringing a startling end to his first season as coach of the expansion San Diego Loyal soccer team. The Loyal forfeited their final two matches of 2020 to protest alleged slurs directed at players. Donovan begins his second season as coach when San Diego visits Phoenix Rising FC on Friday night. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong. File)
A statue of the Galaxy's Landon Donovan, shown in 2016, will be featured at Dignity Health Sports Park. (Jae C. Hong. File / Associated Press)

Landon Donovan and David Beckham will be forever linked in Galaxy history after bringing the team two MLS Cups during their six seasons together.

Beginning this fall, the teammates will be forever linked outside the team’s stadium as well, with the Galaxy announcing plans Tuesday to place a statue of Donovan next to the bronze likeness of Beckham in Legends Plaza, outside the main entrance on the southwest side of Dignity Health Sports Park.

Donovan’s statue, which will be sculpted by Julie Rotblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany, the husband-and-wife team who did the Beckham statue as well as the one of Michael Jordan the sits outside the United Center in Chicago, will be unveiled on Oct. 3 in a pregame ceremony ahead of the Galaxy’s game with LAFC. At halftime Donovan will be placed in the club’s Ring of Honor joining Beckham; former players Cobi Jones and Mauricio Cienfuegos; and the late Doug Hamilton, a three-time MLS executive of the year.

“It’s a little bit hard to explain,” Donovan said of his reaction to the rare tribute. “Because, in theory, unless you’re a former Confederate general, a statue is eternal. So I understand the significance of it.

“I’m incredibly honored and proud to have been a part of a club that ultimately had a lot of success and that I could really contribute to. My family and I are incredibly grateful.”

When AEG, the Galaxy’s parent company, placed the larger-than-life Beckham statue in the plaza in 2019 it promised it would be the first in a series of monuments similar, to the ones of Lakers and Kings legends outside Staples Center, which it also owns. Donovan says that is significant.

“We’re all trying to create in this country some long-lasting tradition,” he said. “This is one of the first steps, for clubs to do things like this. When you travel around the world to different soccer clubs, they have a history and a traditional that is actually tangible. You can feel the history and you can feel what it means to play there.

“It’s really important to honor those who have contributed in a meaningful way.”

Donovan, who hung up his jersey after winning a record sixth MLS Cup in 2014, returned for a six-game cameo in 2016, then retired from MLS for good with as the league’s all-time leader in goals (145) and assists (136). That led the MLS to name its MVP award for Donovan, who also holds or shares national team records for goals (57) and assists (58).

Beckham and Donovan contributed to the most dominant four-year run in MLS history, winning two Supporters’ Shields and making three MLS Cup finals, winning two, between 2009-12. They also followed their playing careers by both becoming team owners, Beckham with Inter-Miami in MLS and Donovan with the San Diego Loyal of the USL Championship, a team he also serves as coach and executive vice president of soccer operations.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.