16 October 2014 01:53
MLS commissioner Don Garber fired back on Wednesday, after USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s comments about the domestic league.
Garber was irked by Klinsmann’s suggestion MLS was holding back some of the USA’s players, specifically Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, who made big-money moves back to North America from top European teams in 2013.
The commissioner could barely contain his anger during the call, using terms like “infuriating” and “frustrating as hell”.
“I feel very strongly, having spent the last 24 hours thinking about this issue, that Jurgen’s comments are very detrimental to the league,” Garber said.
“Sending a negative message to any players that signing with MLS is not good for career or form is incredibly detrimental to US soccer.
“I believe that it sends the wrong message to other young American players. I also think it’s going to send the wrong message to players we’re trying to sign from overseas.”
Garber said that Klinsmann’s comments were “disappointing and, frankly, personally infuriating”.
The comment that seemed to irk the commissioner the most was the following, from Klinsmann’s news conference on Monday in Boca Raton, Florida.
“I made it clear with Clint’s move back and (Bradley’s) move back that it’s going to be very difficult for them to keep that same level that they experienced at the places where they were. It’s just reality. It’s just being honest.”
Garber said he believed Klinsmann’s comments were following a pattern that began with his treatment of retiring star Landon Donovan.
He then stated for the record that he believed the US boss was wrong for leaving Donovan off the 2014 World Cup team.
“I believe that Landon should have been in Brazil,” Garber said. “I believe his treatment was inexcusable.”
Garber noted that he had sent a letter to US Soccer president Sunil Gulati, and that MLS board members followed suit. He concluded by demanding that Klinsmann refrain from further criticism of MLS.
“I’m demanding that he refrain from making comments that are critical of our players and damaging to our league,” Garber said.