Don Garber: Comments about Jurgen Klinsmann were not personal

Wednesday October 22nd, 2014

MLS commissioner Don Garber told Reuters that the idea of him having a personal rift with U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is "absurd."

Last week, Klinsmann told reporters that he feels it's more difficult to maintain a high standard of play in MLS than it is in top European leagues. He said his main concern was about U.S. team members Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey recently returning to play in MLS from Europe. 

Garber responded by calling Klinsmann's comments "damaging" and "detrimental" to MLS and said they are not something that is going to allow him to "effectively serve the role of not just coach, but as technical director."

BIRD: Garber threatened by Klinsmann challenging U.S. status quo

"Somehow this turned into a personal Klinsmann versus Garber debate and I have seen some of those headlines, which I think are absurd and very unintended," said Garber

"What I intended to do was support our league and our players and our clubs and to ensure that everybody associated with this sport was aligned with the vision that comes from our (U.S. Soccer) federation president that a strong league is a necessary component for national team success."

Garber said he considers Klinsmann an "very balanced, thoughtful guy" and has had email exchanges with him and plans to talk to him soon. While he thought it was good for the game that he and Klinsmann's comments were being discussed by fans and in the media, he wants to move the discussion out of the public eye.   

• ​WAHL: USWNT one step away from qualifying for 2015 World Cup

"My remarks were never intended to be personal and I think they came out that way - those things happen. I will be a passionate supporter of the league and Jurgen will be very passionate about his ideas and neither of us should sway from that but it is time for it to leave the media space and get into meetings that we can have to start getting the game built from the bottom up," said Garber.

- Molly Geary


SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.