Thursday, October 16, 2014

Garber Frustrated

Don Garber, MLS Commissioner (and CEO of Soccer United Marketing) decided to take Jurgen Klinsmann's recent comments about MLS and a couple of her high profile players to the streets yesterday afternoon.

"It's frustrating as hell," said Garber.

Those four words tell all of us that work in the professional world that the fight was over as soon as this press conference was called. The fact that Garber and his close circle did not - and cannot - see that, is the larger issue here. Klinsmann's mildly critical comments are secondary.

Most of Garber's frustration here is self inflicted. It started somewhere around the beginning of last year when he came out with the proclamation about becoming a top league in a decade's time -- and culminating yesterday with this shockingly immature and unprofessional overreaction to criticism.

Aiming high isn't an issue until you start cutting out everyone and anyone writing critically of what's going on and believing your own hype.

Soccer has had a foothold in the US as long as I've been alive and looking through history, well... it's always had a big place here. It's only recently that we have "sports industrialists" trying to make mountains of money off it while trying to control the market.

“He needs to think very, very hard about how he manages himself publicly and how he motivates players playing in our league," Garber said towards the end of his press conference. 
“I am demanding that he refrain from making comments which are critical of our players and damaging to our league.”

It's crystal clear that the head of MLS isn't happy. All things considered, he probably shouldn't be - as he has worked pretty hard over the last ten years to get this league to where it's at. But the public showmanship is not necessary, smacks of desperation and insults lovers of the game. Adding to the insult is "the Don" himself. By tying himself to MLS this much makes it seem as if pulling for the Columbus Crew is the same as pulling for the 'fightin' Don Garbers'.

He certainly has the right to bring this up at the next USSF board meeting but has absolutely no right to demand anything from anybody but his MLS staff. He also has no right turning a league I've grown up with into a complete and utter joke.

Klinsmann's comments were the opposite of damaging. They are only the very beginning of what Garber needs to hear.

Here's to hoping more adult voices will be guiding MLS in the future.

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