Monday, November 30, 2015

For Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy is personal

Garber, who lives in Montclair, is without power at his home - and two of his siblings lost their homes due to storm damage.

For Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy is personal

(Kathy Willens/AP file photo)
(Kathy Willens/AP file photo)

Before Saturday night's D.C. United-New York Red Bulls game, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber spent a few minutes chatting with reporters in the press room at RFK Stadium.

Most of the conversation centered around the effects that Hurricane Sandy have had on the D.C.-New York playoff series. Garber confirmed that the second leg of the series will take place at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night, and also confirmed that there were serious discussions about playing the first leg at PPL Park.

But the really interesting stuff to me was how Sandy affected Garber personally. I thought it would be good to share that, especially for those of you reading this outside the Northeast Corridor.

"I'm cold and living in a dark house like tens of thousands of other people, if not more, where I live in New Jersey," Garber said. "For 12 years, I've been taking the train down to these games – today I drove with my wife and my dog, [and] we're staying in a local hotel."

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Garber, who lives in Montclair, also mentioned that two of his siblings lost their homes due to storm damage. And he noted that even over short distances across the New York region, the effects of the storm have been dramatically different.

"One of our guys is up in Westchester (County, N.Y.), and has his power and called on Thursday and asked if we were going to have a strategic planning meeting on Friday," Garber said. "It just is so removed from the reality of the challenges that are affecting the people who have been hit hard by this ... You can be living 10 miles from Manhattan or New Jersey and not really understand what is going on."

But Garber remains stoic and optimistic.

"Driving down the New Jersey Turnpike, there were hundreds and hundreds of gas trucks and power trucks and National Guard trucks," he said. "If I was able to tweet while I drove my car, I would have sent something out. It was really remarkable and empowering to see all that stuff happening." 

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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, the National Women's Soccer League, the U.S. men's and women's national teams, and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald
Lauren Green Inquirer Staff Writer
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