Don Garber: Major League Soccer has 'broken through' in Philadelphia

Tuesday's MLS All-Star Game press conference at City Hall had plenty of pomp and circumstance. It also produced a few substantive quotes from league commissioner Don Garber.

Here are some highlights. There's also a video below of a breakout interview that Garber did with reporters after his formal remarks.

On scheduling the All-Star Game on the eve of the Olympics, thus making it likely that stars such as David Beckham and Freddy Adu won't be able to participate:

Soccer is a different sport, for those of you who don't know, in that we operate in a global environment, and have to manage through an international calendar of all sorts of other competitions.

It [the All-Star Game] is scheduled at a time when we feel that we'll have the best possible team, both from a Major League Soccer perspective and also from an international competition perspective. We'll work through all those details.

We're comfortable that this is the right date. It won't conflict with the CONCACAF Champions League. We've managed through that, and we're confident that we're going to have a great team.


Part of the challenge of building a soccer league in North America is understanding that we play by a different calendar. It's the reality of where our league is.

On when the All-Star Game opponent will be announced:

Nothing specific, but probably in the next 60 days. Don't hold me to that.

[If you've been around MLS for long enough, you get the joke.]

On continuing to hold the All-Star Game at soccer-specific stadiums, even though going to NFL stadiums could produce larger crowds and more revenue:

It's part of building the game, maybe walking away from something in the short term butb really building value in the long term.

On the Union's place within the Philadelphia sports scene, one of the most crowded of any city in the nation:

We have broken through in Philadelphia... Frankly, it's worked a little better here than we thought it would have.

On whether the league will move away from having an English Premier League team as the opponent in the All-Star Game:

I would think over time, we're going to change, reach further out from where we've been in the past. But it's hard to argue with the popularity that some of these English clubs have in America.


As long as those clubs continue to look to the United States, and have strong fan bases, we'll probably continue to look to England. I will say, though, that our view is to South America and Mexico some time in the future.