Donovan was in the 1999 team which reached the tournament in New Zealand.
"It's sad for those players and for [head coach] Richie Williams, because it's such an awesome experience and opportunity," Donovan told mlssoccer.com. "I'm sad for those kids, that they don't get a chance to experience it. For me, it was some of the best memories of my life.
"It's disappointing. At the same time, there's no question with Olympic qualifying, 20s and 17s, we need to take a pretty honest look at what's going on, and we all have to do a better job. That falls on all of us. It's not one coach or a few coaches or certain players, it's everybody who's involved in soccer in this country. We need to take a look at ourselves and do a better job. No question."