Landon Donovan promotes World Cup
What a week for Landon Donovan.
The most famous soccer player in the United States -- not named David Beckham -- is expected to lead the United States in the World Cup starting June 11.
But this past week, Donovan:
• was named to the preliminary U.S. World Cup roster.
• was named Major League Soccer Player of the Week for the L.A. Galaxy.
• was named national spokesman for Flo TV's coverage of World Cup.
• was shown half-naked in the June issue of Vanity Fair magazine.
"For the past six months, interest has grown tremendously, and people are excited about our sport and especially this World Cup," Donovan said. "It's something I haven't experienced before."
Donovan, 28, was born in California and always had a knack for playing soccer. He joined his first league at the age of 5 and scored seven goals in his first game. And he hasn't stopped scoring since. But the upcoming World Cup in South Africa is something special.
"I'm really just happy to be a part of it," Donovan said. "World Cup is the only thing I saw growing up, unlike today's youth, who can watch soccer all over television from around the world. I can't really explain how special it is to me."
ESPN is televising every match, and fans not in front of their televisions can watch ESPN Mobile TV's coverage of all 64 games of the 2010 FIFA World Cup live on the portable Flo TV personal device. FLO TV also will feature a 24-hour-a-day channel dedicated to the World Cup from June 11 to July 11.
"It's a cool concept. You can take it with you when you travel," said Donovan, whose first TV commercial will debut Thursday on his Facebook page and FLO TV. "Guys around me all the time are wanting to watch it."
Speaking of watching it, wonder what his friends will think about his disrobing for Vanity Fair. He joined some of the sport's biggest stars, including Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba, for a fashion shoot and story.
"I'm not going to lie, but it was a little nerve-wracking to take my clothes off," Donovan said. "But I trusted [photographer] Annie Leibovitz. She made me feel very comfortable. I knew it was a good opportunity for our sport."
Man, what a week.
Lynn Hoppes is Senior Director of Page 2 and Commentary for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org