Much has been made recently of the clash of words between Jurgen Klinsmann and Major League Soccer commissioner, Don Garber. On October 15th Klinsmann spoke out about his concerns over U.S. players not competing at the highest level and made remarks that some, including Garber, considered detrimental to the U.S. based league.
This brings to the forefront the constant need of MLS to control the conversation. Garber came out immediately after Klinsmann’s remarks with a spicy overly defensive comeback of his own. He took offense to Klinsmann’s ideas that players should consider looking outside of MLS for playing opportunities and that maybe MLS isn’t up to the same level as European leagues. Of course Klinsmann didn’t come out and say it that matter of fact.
Most of Garber’s frustration comes from a positive place of wanting to improve the league while not losing big name players, and in turn, the ticket revenue that comes with them. But he goes about it the wrong way.
All this does is expose the overly sensitive nature of MLS and Garber, but also the absence of any sense of reality. This need by MLS, and its owners to fear monger people into singing its praises appears to be getting worse. Indeed, it’s a great league, and it has improved drastically — the caveat that every writer and pundit make, because in fact it’s true. However, to force the issue through rhetoric and publicly bashing anyone that speaks up against the league, actually has the opposite effect. If MLS were truly a superior league, its laurels and on field play would speak for itself.
Garber should want what is best for the U.S. Men’s National Team and understand that a player going abroad does not necessarily weaken the domestic league, at least not in the long run.
Apparently there is also growing frustration from some club owners over Klinsmann’s advice to look at other options. They are upset because they’ve invested a lot of money in their academies and many of the top young players are being advised to look abroad.
That outlook by owners is insane. Improve your academy. Compete. Be the best to get the best. That’s the American way right?
Don’t ask for Klinsmann to recommend your academy if it isn’t up to the level of the one at Ajax (Netherlands), or Tottenham, or Fulham, or any other number of mid level European clubs. Yes, mid level European teams have stronger academies. But give yourselves a break MLS, they’ve been at it for over a hundred years. There is also nothing wrong with staying and playing in MLS, if that’s best for the player. Klinsmann’s point all along has been that it’s a personal decision and it’s different for every player.
In all honesty, Garber isn’t claiming MLS is superior to those top European leagues, but his actions reek of a jealous insecure boyfriend. As if every potential MLS player was his girlfriend, and the European leagues are the taller better looking guys that flirt with his girlfriend and have something he doesn’t have. Not only more money, but more confidence, and no receding hairline.
So, then Garber tries to overcompensate. These better looking guys flirt and his girlfriend is genuinely interested. Problem is he doesn’t have the confidence in himself as a “man” (not Garber himself of course, but him in this comparison), so he needs to lash out and try and control the situation.
This is never a good sign. I guess in some ways if your girlfriend is interested in other options, she shouldn’t be your girlfriend.
The USMNT play Columbia in just under an hour at Fulham’s Craven Cottage in London. I desperately want whatever is best for the progression of soccer in the U.S., so personally I hope some young guys get looks from European scouts. And also that the boys put on a good display of American soccer on European soil.
Now, how do I stealth out of the office to a bar and down a couple beers, watch the game, and get back unscathed? And not want a nap in my office later? Hmmm.