Soccer: Landon Donovan comes out of retirement for a third time to join the San Diego Sockers

Landon Donovan celebrates his goal with teammate Edson Buddle during the Group C, first round, 2010 World Cup soccer match USA vs. Algeria on June 23, 2010 at Loftus Verfeld stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria.
(Timothy A. Clary / AFP/ Getty Images)

Landon Donovan, Major League Soccer’s all-time leading scorer, is coming out of a retirement for a third time to join the San Diego Sockers for the rest of the Major Arena Soccer League season. A press conference to announce his signing is scheduled for Thursday in San Diego.

Donovan, 36, who scored 145 goals for the Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes, stepped away from soccer after winning a record sixth MLS Cup with the Galaxy in 2014. But he returned for the final six regular-season games and the playoffs in 2016. He then retired again, only to sign with Leon of Mexico’s Liga MX in January 2018, playing in six matches and failing to score in a brief five-month stay,

San Diego (10-1) leads the MASL’s Pacific Division 11 games into the 24-game regular season. Donovan is expected his debut Feb. 15. Terms of his one-year contract were not released.


- Kevin Baxter

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Higuain joins Chelsea from Juventus until end of season

Gonzalo Higuain has joined Chelsea on loan from Juventus for the rest of the season, reuniting the Argentina striker with coach Maurizio Sarri.

The 31-year-old Higuain scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A games in his one season at Napoli under Sarri. He had been on loan at AC Milan this season, having joined Juventus in 2016.

The transfer was completed Wednesday.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia says Higuain was Chelsea’s top target in the transfer window and is “familiar with how the coach likes to play.”


Higuain hasn’t signed in time to face Tottenham in the semifinals of the English League Cup on Thursday. Chelsea trails 1-0 from the first leg.

His debut might come against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on Sunday.

- Associated Press

Marseille signs Balotelli from Nice until end of the season

Marseille has signed striker Mario Balotelli from French rival Nice until the end of the season.

The 28-year-old Italian was the top scorer for Nice over the past two seasons but failed to score in 10 league games this season and fell out of favor with coach Patrick Vieira.

Marseille did not give financial details. The southern French club had made Balotelli a priority signing during the off-season transfer window but the move fell through.


Marseille strikers Valere Germain and Kostas Mitroglou have struggled to score goals this season, meaning winger Florian Thauvin has often had to play as an emergency striker.

Balotelli has not played for Nice since Dec. 4. But could be put straight into the Marseille team for Friday’s home game against second-place Lille.

Marseille is in seventh place and needs to finish third to enter the qualifying rounds for next season’s Champions League.

- Associated Press

Barcelona signs young Dutch midfielder De Jong for 75M euros

Barcelona has signed promising 21-year-old Netherlands midfielder Frankie de Jong from Ajax for 75 million euros ($85.5 million).


The deal could reach 86 million euros including possible add-ons depending on the youngster’s and the team’s performances during the five-year contract.

The transfer was finalized on Wednesday by Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu in Amsterdam.

Barcelona calls De Jong “one of Europe’s most promising midfield talents.” It says he has “an excellent reading of the game and ability to provide the killer pass.”

- Associated Press

FA charges Crystal Palace keeper Hennessey over Nazi salute

The English Football Association has charged Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey with improper conduct after he appeared to perform a Nazi salute in a photograph posted online by German teammate Max Meyer.


The FA alleges the gesture was “abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.” The governing body adds that it was an aggravated breach of its rules because it included a “reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief.”

Hennessey was near the back of the table during a team dinner in an image posted earlier this month by Meyer on an Instagram story. He denied performing a Nazi salute, saying “any resemblance to that kind of gesture is absolutely coincidental.”

Hennessey said he “waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry.”

- Associated Press

Fulham striker banished by club after getting arrested

Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara has been banished by the Premier League club after getting arrested for an incident at its training ground in south London.


British newspaper The Daily Mail reported that Kamara was involved in a fight with a member of staff at Fulham on Monday.

In response to a request for comment on the incident involving Kamara, Fulham said in a statement that “the subject who was arrested is banned indefinitely from Motspur Park and all club activities.”

Fulham said it will cooperate with any investigation “in the name of providing everyone a secure and safe working environment.”

London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that officers were called to Fulham’s training ground on Monday following reports of a fight, and that a man in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

The police said the man has been released but is still under investigation.

Kamara, a 23-year-old Frenchman, was reported to have been involved in a fight with teammate Aleksandar Mitrovic during a team yoga session this month.

- Associated Press