University of Southern California

Landon Donovan Comes to Campus
Soccer Star Speaks to Lloyd Greif Center Entrepreneurial Studies Class
April 1, 2013 • by News at Marshall

Five-time MLS Cup Champion Landon Donovan visited USC Marshall Feb. 20 as part of an event hosted by the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. The soccer star was a guest speaker for students in “Taking the Leap: The Entrepreneurial Mindset” class and Annenberg’s Sports, Business and Media in Today's Society course.

During the hour-and-a-half event, Donovan walked the students through his career successes, from being named the MVP of the Under-17 World Cup in 1988 to winning the 2012 Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

"Taking the Leap," the largest elective course in Marshall, focuses on giving students advice, tools and the mindset to succeed as leaders and as innovators. Adjunct professor Dave Belasco invites guests who have found greatness in one way or another to give their perspective on the mindset it took to achieve their success.

Most speakers are from the business realm, but Donovan shared his expertise on the mindset of greatness in sports. Belasco wanted to explore Malcolm Gladwell’s idea of “Outliers”—those who rise above the rest in the field—and Donovan’s success on the pitch as well as in taking American soccer to new levels made him the perfect fit.

The evening’s conversation focused on how Donovan’s career and personal life have mixed to form his sense of self over time. He discussed how he prevailed under scrutiny by taking an unusual approach: focusing on personal problems first. Once his personal problems were resolved, he said, his level of performance skyrocketed.

Whether in finance or football, Donovan’s insights reminded students that job performance is based on not only skills, but also the ability to triumph over adversity.

"The moments that are hardest in your life," he said, "are often the best things that ever happened to you."


About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.