Retiring at the end of the 2014 season after winning a league title with LA, Donovan stepped away from the game to concentrate more on his personal life.
He stayed close to football, even becoming a minority shareholder with the new Swansea City ownership group in the Premier League.
Donovan walked away as the MLS career leader in goals (144) and assists (136), along with his unprecedented trophy haul.
Two successful loan stints at Everton in 2010 and 2012 brought him Player of the Month honours, as he showed a constant desire to improve.
Now, with manager Bruce Arena going through injury concerns with his LA squad, Donovan has returned to bring the Galaxy another championship.
We take a look at what Landon Donovan brings to the team and what can be expected moving forward.
MLS is often derided as a “retirement league”, with ageing European stars coming over to cash in for one more payday.
The league has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades, but the news of Donovan returning does not exactly help that stigma.
But Donovan and the Galaxy are not going into this partnership with unreal expectations. Having not played a competitive match for nearly two years, Donovan’s fitness is not going to be where it needs to be to start and play 90 minutes.
But that is not what Bruce Arena is looking for. Five MLS Cup titles, three of them with LA, have been captured by Arena and he knows what to expect from his players.
Donovan will be called upon to come into matches late and help push the attack up from the midfield.
With options like Giovani dos Santos and Robbie Keane up top, Donovan will look to use his vision and passing ability to spark the offence in critical moments.
Donovan’s time with the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy saw him lift six league titles and shatter scoring records along the way. He is familiar with the unique challenges of the league as well.
The summer schedule, postseason playoffs, tactical differences, travelling across time zones and dealing with artificial turf pitches all can be difficult for newcomers.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has found the transition to take time, and Donovan’s experience can help everyone on the team in this regard.
Donovan not only understands what is needed to win, he knows what it takes to win in MLS.
EXPERIENCE WITH BRUCE ARENA
Between the LA Galaxy and their time together with the US national team, Bruce Arena has managed Landon Donovan for well over a decade.
They have found success together often and will look to pick up right where they left off in 2014.
Donovan knows what Arena will want to see from his squad and, in many ways, will be like having an assistant coach on the pitch.
Currently sitting second in the overall MLS table, the Galaxy were already one of the favourites to win the 2016 MLS Cup.
Landon Donovan’s addition may be the extra intangible needed to guide them to that objective.