Garber Gets Four More Years

Monday, August 02, 2010 | View Comments
HARRISON, NJ - JULY 15: MLS Commisioner Don Garber speaks to the media during a press conference on July 15, 2010 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

During the uncertain days before MLS managements and the Players Union agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement, word leaked that Don Garber had a new contract waiting for him should he steer the league to labor peace. Job done, Garber has been renewed for four more years (subscription needed on the link).

The Commissioner has his detractors. He'll never have a 100% approval rating, and some of the league's more arcane rules and strange decisions are tossed directly into Garber's lap; but for any possible criticisms, Garber's track record speaks for itself. The league is enjoying a period of massive growth, successful expansion franchises are coming on, and marquee players are crossing the Atlantic to play in the league. Perhaps Garber has steered MLS into dangerous waters on spending, but after years of controlled costs and slow growth, only time will tell. From an impartial perspective, the league is clearly in good hands.

The next four years will hardly be easy for Garber. The league is changing, more expansion is expected, and difficult questions are looming in DC and elsewhere. TV contracts are coming up for renewal, and ith the new DP rules, an era of lesser parity may be coming. How Garber handles all of these situations will ultimately decide his legacy as commissioner.

That being said, continuity is crucial at this point. Change only makes sense if an upgrade is certain; if Garber wants to stay in the job (and at a reported $3 million/year, why wouldn't he) and he's performed to the owners' standards, keeping him around is a given. His business-first approach might be distasteful to soccer purists, but he's led MLS into a new age and his financial focus has solidified the league into a stable operation with purpose-built stadiums and the ability to attract players like Henry, Fernandez, Marquez, Castillo, etc.

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