CHICAGO (Tuesday, June 18, 2002) - Less than a month since U.S. World Cup team forward Clint Mathis graced the cover of the 2002 World Cup preview issue (May 27, 2002) of "Sports Illustrated", U.S. forward Landon Donovan is featured on this week's cover after the USA's landmark 2-0 win over Mexico that earned them a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1930. The new issue, dated June 24, hits newsstands on Thursday.
Just 20 years old, the Redlands, Calif., native has been one of the keys to the U.S. success this year and continues to turn heads with his performance at the World Cup. Along with Brian McBride, Donovan has scored two goals in the World Cup, knocking in the lone goal in the 3-1 loss to Poland last Friday, and perfectly finishing an insurance goal in the 2-0 win over Mexico yesterday.
Add to that an important own-goal by Portugal off a Donovan cross that helped spur the shocking 3-2 upset, and an early goal against Poland that was questionably called back, and the midfielder/forward has been seemingly everywhere in the U.S. attack.
Donovan leads the U.S. team in minutes with 1,383 in 2002, having appeared in all 18 matches this year, including all four World Cup matches. With the two goals at Korea/Japan, he is also third on the team in scoring this year with six goals and two assists for 14 points (behing Mathis' 16 and McBride's 15 points).
Donovan becomes just the second male U.S. Soccer player since 1994 (Earnie Stewart) and the second MLS player ever to grace the cover of America's largest sports weekly. Brandi Chastain and the U.S. Women's National Team were both cover subjects of SI in 1999 when the U.S. captured the 1999 Women's World Cup and then were later named the Sportswomen of the Year.
This is the 11th time in Sports Illustrated's history, which dates back to 1954, that soccer has been the magazine's main cover subject. The players previously featured on the cover, prior to Mathis, were Bob Rigby (1973), Pele (1975), Daniel Passarella (1978), Giorgio Chinaglia (1979), Diego Maradona (1986), Earnie Stewart (1994), Brandi Chastain (1999) and the U.S. Women's National Team (1999 Sportswomen of the Year), and Clint Mathis (2002).