- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On October 16, 2014
- 6 Comments
Yesterday was certainly a wild ride for those covering Major League Soccer. Almost out of no where in the middle of the afternoon a media alert lands in my inbox telling me of a press conference being called for only a couple hours later with Commissioner Don Garber. The call was purely about him discussing the comments made recently by Jurgen Klinsmann regarding the status of the league.
I’ve never heard Garber so frustrated or annoyed about any particular comment/idea/concept/etc before. But man, on first listen it felt like Garber woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday and wanted the entire world to know it.
“To think that we are not aligned with our national team coach is disappointing and personally infuriating and frustrating as hell,” Garber said. “Frankly I don’t think it is in line with the shared vision that this league has with the [U.S.] federation.”
Garber also offered up some strong thoughts as to what he thinks Klinsmann should do from now on too.
“I am demanding that [Klinsmann] refrain from making comments which are critical of our players and damaging to our league.”
Alright then. Demanding huh?
What really seems to have broke the camels back for Garber was Klinsmann’s insinuation that both Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey have regressed since leaving Europe for MLS.
In a way it was tough to really align with Garber following the call. Hearing a person demand that another person refrain from making comments that are critical seemed a bit much but it was something that Garber was certainly entitled to do. He did mention how some of the MLS Board of Governors have sent letters to the US Soccer Federation recently as well.
This comes down to difference in opinion. It is as simple as that. Neither opinion are terribly wrong one way or the other too. Though in a way I do tend to side more on the league’s point of view for players. You can’t tell me that sitting day after day on a bench in Italy is better than starting every week in Toronto. Sure the training in Europe is a little more intense and to be able to play in the Champions League is one thing but the number of American players actually going overseas and succeeding is really a slim margin. The entire concept behind MLS was to improve the national team, which it certainly is doing these days.
What Klinsmann did get wrong is the fact that he is attacking the future of the game through MLS. Basically he is closing the door for plenty of young, talented players that may do well in MLS but instead in his comments he is telling these young players that they need to be in Europe. In one way or the other he is saying that if you play in MLS, you won’t see a lot of time with him and the national team. The funny thing about all this is, he has actually helped push players like Jermaine Jones to MLS.
Again, neither guy is terribly wrong altogether but the disconnect between the league and the national team is one gap, however big or small that needs to close sooner rather than later.