If Tim Leiweke is on his way out of Major League Soccer, that’s a huge blow to the league. There’s no other way to put it. On Thursday, Leiweke’s future as the CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns Toronto FC, was made clear: He’s leaving the company no later than June 30, 2015, and could leave even earlier if a successor is appointed.
No single person has signed more big names for MLS teams over the years than Leiweke, who landed David Beckham and Robbie Keane for the LA Galaxy (during his days as the CEO of AEG) and Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley for Toronto in a blockbuster $100 million commitment earlier this year.
2014 MLS AMBITION RANKINGS: Leiweke-led Toronto FC No. 1
Leiweke just gets things done—how many other MLS execs could persuade Drake to help get a deal sealed?—and his vision for what MLS can be has been a driving force for the league’s growth.
Now it looks like Leiweke will be out of soccer, at least for a while. For anyone wondering if he’s in the running to buy Los Angeles-based Chivas USA, which is on the market, Leiweke said via e-mail on Thursday morning that he’s not interested and doesn’t plan on doing anything for a while.
That’s a bummer for MLS. With Leiweke around, there has always been a sense that any signing is possible.