SBD/July 3, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Don Garber Points To American Interest In World Cup As Indicator Of Upswing In MLS

Garber hopes the MLS becomes a league of choice for the world's top players
MLS believes that the "unprecedented enthusiasm" for the U.S. team during the '14 FIFA World Cup is evidence the league "has come of age," according to Jérôme Rasetti of REUTERS. The U.S. lost to Belgium on Tuesday, and on the "same day, league officials celebrated in Orlando," where '15 MLS expansion club Orlando City SC introduced Brazil MF Kaka. Both events "add to the growing evidence that soccer has finally secured more than just a foothold" in the U.S. MLS Commissioner Don Garber after the U.S. loss tweeted, "We proved to the world we are a soccer nation!" An average of six MLSers started in each World Cup game for the U.S., and Garber said, "We need to be a league of choice for the top players in the world, and that starts with being the league of choice for top American players." U.S. MF Michael Bradley and F Clint Dempsey "recently returned to play on American soil after successful European club ventures." MLS "has already earned a strong foreign contingent, including French superstar" and Red Bulls F Thierry Henry (REUTERS, 7/1). Kaka said that his belief in the future of MLS "clinched a difficult 11th-hour decision to make the move" to Orlando City from Italian Serie A club AC Milan. Kaka: "My expectation is that soccer is going to be the first sport in America." He added that he "wanted to help MLS become one of the five biggest leagues in the world and attract more international players." Kaka: "In Europe the players speak a lot to come to play in America. To other players I think I can show that the American league is a nice place to play" (REUTERS, 7/2). Kaka: "This is the right moment to come to MLS. I think the league is getting better every year, (improving) a lot, and I think the MLS will (have) a great, great future in soccer" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/3).

GROWING THE GAME: Garber, appearing Tuesday on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report," said of whether this World Cup was a game changer for MLS, "It starts with having great players that are playing in our league performing in the World Cup." He added, "It's about connecting our players, our clubs, basically saying to all those fans, 'We're right here, all that passion and excitement at the World Cup is right here in your local MLS city.'" Garber said this World Cup "really captured the imagination of the country far more than it did" the last World Cup, despite the U.S. team losing both times in the round of 16. He said, "It's almost like a viral video. This thing just took off. ... It will get even bigger over the next four years." Garber: "We've got a lot of stuff that's there helping us along, and we just got to get the job done and be sure when this whole thing is over, we have more fans. We're not going to have 25 million people watching our games or anything close to that, but we better have more people watching our games, and we better have more people going to our games, or we might have to have some new people working in the league office and in our clubs" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 7/3).
Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug