Donovan has been the face of the national team for most of the past decade and has played for the U.S. in the past three World Cups dating back to 2002.
The 32-year-old was a mainstay of the national team before taking a four- month sabbatical at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Klinsmann said Donovan would have to earn his spot back, and the Los Angeles Galaxy attacker has been deemed expendable despite excelling for the U.S. at last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"It's an exciting moment when you have narrowed the roster down as a coaching staff, and these 23 players that you've chosen can focus now purely on Brazil," Klinsmann said. "We can go into more specific things about technical approaches, and about the opponents. For the players, it's very important to know that they are now part of it and they can relax and know they are on the list going to Brazil and taking it from there. After almost 10 days of work right now, we thought the point has come to make the decision."
The usual suspects such as veterans Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, and Tim Howard were included on the 23-man roster, while players who weren't automatic selections, like Julian Green, John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, DeAndre Yedlin, Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud and Chris Wondolowski, made the final cut.
The U.S. will play three matches in its send-off series from May 27 - June 7 against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria before opening its World Cup campaign on June 16 in Group G against Ghana.
The following is the full 23-man roster:
DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nurnberg), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Monchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC).
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).