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Landon Donovan: For team, it was 'biggest goal in history'

By Katie McLaughlin, CNN
Landon Donovan says the U.S. soccer team is "still proud of what we accomplished" despite its elimination from the World Cup.
Landon Donovan says the U.S. soccer team is "still proud of what we accomplished" despite its elimination from the World Cup.
  • Soccer star Landon Donovan at MTV and TeenNick's "It's Up to Us! 2010 NCVS Youth Forum"
  • Donovan predicted earlier Brazil would win World Cup before its loss to the Netherlands
  • He is the all-time leader in scoring and assists for U.S. soccer team
  • Donovan encourages volunteers "to spare some money, clothing, food -- something"

(CNN) -- Fresh from playing in the World Cup in South Africa, U.S. soccer player Landon Donovan made an appearance this week at the MTV and TeenNick's "It's Up to Us! 2010 NCVS Youth Forum."

Donovan was joined by former first daughter Barbara Bush, president and co-founder of Global Health Corps; Whitney Port from MTV's "The Hills" and "The City"; MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway; and the stars of MTV's "The Buried Life."

MTV, TeenNick, the Corporation for National and Community Service and Shell Oil Co. teamed up to honor 150 youth service leaders, spotlight their efforts and encourage the youths to continue giving back to their communities.

"Moments like the one last week are the ones where it comes back to serving and being ambassadors for what you believe in," Donovan said. "I believe in this game and I love this game, and no more so than since I've gotten off the plane and realized how important it is what we do."

When asked by the youth volunteers to describe how he felt when scoring "the goal" in the 91st minute of the game against Algeria, Donovan said he didn't realize the impact until after the 1-0 U.S. win.

"We didn't realize really until a little bit later in the night," Donovan said. "Staying up and watching video of people back home -- we saw this incredible YouTube video of people celebrating our goal, and it was so cool to see because we're going through all the emotions in the game. We're going from, 'Oh my gosh, our World Cup is over' to just pure ecstasy and realizing not only had we won the game, but we advanced -- we won the group -- so there was all these emotions."

Donovan took a few moments to speak to CNN about his dramatic goal and the importance of volunteerism.

CNN: A lot of announcers called your game-winning goal the biggest goal of your career and the biggest goal in U.S. soccer history. Do you agree?

Landon Donovan: I think for our team it was absolutely the biggest goal in history. Not only because of what it accomplished -- winning our group, advancing out of our group -- but obviously the way it happened and the dramatic fashion. And I'm realizing now that I'm back in the United States how special a moment that was for everyone. I think it gave people a memory that they'll have forever, and it's very cool to be a part of that.

CNN: You're the all-time leader in scoring and assists, and have the most caps (international appearances) of all active players. What do you still feel you need to accomplish in the game of soccer?

Donovan: The way I play now, every day is an opportunity for me to perform again so the past doesn't matter to me, and the future isn't important. I just want to be good every day, and as long as that lasts, and I can do it, I'll do it.

CNN: Obviously you're disappointed in how the World Cup turned out for America. But what are the positives?

Donovan: I see it in two ways: one, I see it from our team perspective. Obviously, we're disappointed because we're competitors and we want to win. We're American, and we strive for the best, so from that standpoint it's a little disappointing. But when you look at the big picture, we're still proud of what we accomplished. Something we haven't done in 80 years -- winning our group. And furthermore, the impact we've had on not only young people but all people, the way we've inspired people and the way we've grown our sport.

CNN: Do you play soccer-themed games on Wii, PS3 or Xbox? And if so, how does the video game version of you compare to the real you?

Donovan: Oh yeah! I grew up playing video games. And the cool thing about the EA Sports games is they took me through the whole motion-capture thing, where they put little censors on my body so the video game really is me. It actually moves the way I move.

CNN: Who do you think is going to win the World Cup?

Donovan: Brazil. They're too powerful. [The Netherlands defeated Brazil 2-1 Friday.]

CNN: How can the average person get involved in volunteerism?

Donovan: The biggest thing for me with charity is awareness. Obviously as an athlete, I have an opportunity to make people more aware. The average person doesn't have that opportunity, so the best way is to spare some money, clothing, food -- something. Most of us have a little excess of something that we can give.