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Landon Donovan came of age as U.S.-Mexico soccer rivalry blossomed

Landon Donovan came of age as U.S.-Mexico soccer rivalry blossomed

Dear Mexico, Landon Donovan would like to apologize.

Although the greatest player in U.S. soccer history grew up in Southern California, where he learned Spanish by playing against Mexican American kids, he says he had little understanding of the importance Mexicans place on the U.S.-Mexico rivalry.

So when, as an 18-year-old, he scored the goal that beat Mexico in his first international cap, he figured, how big can these games be?

“I didn’t realize the extent of the rivalry early on. And I didn’t, especially, realize what it meant to the Mexican people,” Donovan says. “So I ran my mouth a lot and said a lot of stupid things. And I regret that.

“I should have had...

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