- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 3, 2010
- 2 Comments
- Don Garber
So I caught some flack for my issues towards SuperLiga yesterday. I figured I would but I still stand by my comments the the tournament is more of a waste than good. Today I saw a post on the US Soccer Examiner’s site with Don Garber talking about re-working the club’s busy schedules.
Don Garber was in New England the other night for the SuperLiga final, showing off that in some ways SuperLiga trumps the US Open Cup where he could have easily been in Seattle or D.C. that night. The whole US Open Cup talk is probably one I’ll need to do in a separate post later on. I have thoughts on how to re-do that tournament and at least make it somewhat meaningful for the league’s teams and for the lower division teams.
But back to Garber’s comments on the schedules. He like everyone else out there who follows MLS even a bit closely know that a decent portion of the league’s teams have busy schedules from about June until October.
Garber admits that after the MLS Cup playoffs the league really needs to focus on the Champions League and US Open Cup.
“We’ve got to reassess the calendar quite a bit and we’ve been spending a lot of time doing that,” said Garber. “I’m up here today actually, with our competitive guys doing some planning, just talking about how could we do a couple things – capitalize on the excitement that took place during the World Cup that clearly proved that Americans loved this game and how do we build on that? Do we need to look at different formats? Do we need to look at our schedule again? How do we ensure that our teams are at full strength while we’re playing in very, very crowded schedules? We’re spending a lot of time planning and I want to be sure that we do well in all these tournaments. The first priority is our league tournament [MLS Cup], but certainly, so is the Champions League and again, I’d like to see the U.S. Open Cup be a bit more important to all of us.”
He does also make some interesting points about building a rival with the Mexican clubs. It looks as though they’ll continue to review the SuperLiga tournament too with the Mexican Federation. I think they definitely need to find ways to make it more popular to the non-Latino soccer fans here in American, outside of that crowd you don’t see the average fan getting jazzed for this competition.
“We’ve always very much believed in trying to build a rivalry against the Mexican club teams, similar to the rivalry that we have on a National Team level and SuperLiga was our attempt to do that,” said Garber. “Now we have a bit more of that with the Champions League and we look forward to seeing that grow in importance. Certainly we believe [SuperLiga] has got value and we’ll sit down as we do every year and figure out what we need to do to continue to make it popular and satisfy the goals that we have and also the goals that the Mexican Federation has.”
Its obvious that the Champions League has to be taken more importantly for MLS than SuperLiga but it will be interesting to see where they weigh the US Open Cup in that equation. Right now it easily appears that its the bottom of the rung after everything else.
Its good to see the league take a proactive stance here though and at least try to figure out how to make their schedule work to make the clubs in the league stand out more and do well outside of league play. Having more clubs in their own venues now really helps that out too as before the league couldn’t schedule nearly the way they wanted to. Now they can and will likely improve the quality of play for MLS in tournaments like the Champions League.