Landon Donovan,

Major League Soccer's most valuable player, signed a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy that includes a provision for an off-season loan overseas, the club said yesterday.

The loan period lasts from Jan. 1 to March 15 and ensures Donovan's return for the Galaxy's opening game March 27.

Financial terms were not disclosed for the contract, which runs through 2013.

Bruce Arena, the Galaxy's coach and general manager, said Donovan most likely would play for Everton in England's Premier League in January.

Lionel Messi scored the go-ahead goal as Spanish champion Barcelona advanced to the final of the Club World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Mexico's Atlante in the United Arab Emirates. Barcelona will play South American champion Estudiantes of Argentina in Saturday's final.

Spain is ranked No. 1 in the year-end FIFA standings for the second straight season, with Brazil second. Netherlands and World Cup champion Italy are third and fourth.

The United States is ranked No. 14, best in the CONCACAF region.

The U.S. team will play Netherlands in a World Cup warm-up in Amsterdam on March 3.

COLLEGES: La Salle will induct former men's and women's basketball coach William "Speedy" Morris into the university's Hall of Fame on Jan. 23. Other inductees include softball and field hockey star Kerri McGahey, women's basketball standout Jennifer Zenszer Ngo, and cross-country stars Sheila Klick and Todd Witzleben.

Missouri basketball players Amanda Hanneman and Jessra Johnson will not face criminal charges for allegedly assaulting a male cheerleader, prosecutors said, citing the cheerleader's request not to press charges.

A lawyer for former team manger Josh Nochimson, the man at the center of recruiting allegations against the University of Connecticut, said his client has not spoken to investigators in the eight months since the story emerged.

UConn said in March it was working with the NCAA to investigate a report by Yahoo Sports that Nochimson illegally helped recruit basketball star Nate Miles, giving him lodging, transportation, meals and representation.

Sam Ashaolu, the Duquesne basketball player who nearly died of head wounds suffered in a shooting after a campus dance in 2006, will receive his college degree today.

Elsewhere: Lock Haven will join the Atlantic Ten as an affiliate member for field hockey in 2010. . . . Ursinus named longtime field hockey coach Laura Moliken as its athletic director. . . . Temple senior Yun Yi Zhang was named honorable mention all-American in women's volleyball. . . . La Salle defender Zovel Hyre will play for the Jamaican under-21 soccer team.

NOTEWORTHY: Arlene and Jules Siegel of New Hope were named the Norman Woolworth owners of the year in harness racing.

American Lindsey Vonn had the best time of 1 minute, 44.52 seconds on the Oreiller-Killy course in Val d'Isere, France, in practice for the World Cup skiing event this weekend.

Michael Walchhofer of Austria led the opening training session for a World Cup downhill race in Val Gardena, Italy. American Bode Miller was 20th skiing on a sore ankle.

Renault will stay in Formula One racing after agreeing to sell a "large stake" in the team to a private investment firm in Luxembourg.

U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer earned a major off-court victory when the ITF lifted her one-year ban for violating anti-doping rules. Another Belgian, 2002 Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse, also had his suspension lifted.

- Staff and wire reports