U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said that he, U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and MLS commissioner Don Garber are all "on the same page" about soccer's continued growth in the U.S, despite Klinsmann and Garber's recent public spat.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said that he, U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and MLS commissioner Don Garber are all "on the same page" about soccer's continued growth in the U.S., according to The Washington Post.
Klinsmann and Garber caused controversy earlier this month when the former made apparent critical remarks about the quality of MLS, which Garber then called "very, very detrimental" to the league.
Both men somewhat backtracked off their comments last week, with Klinsmann saying he only meant to discuss individual players' situations (referring to Michael Bradley's and Clint Dempsey's moves from European teams to MLS) and Garber emphasizing he has no personal rift with Klinsmann.
Gulati said he's spoken to both Klinsmann and Garber about the topic and said the three will get back to their broader common goals of developing American soccer.
“Given some of the comments, I wasn’t surprised it became a hot-button issue,” Gulati said Wednesday. “But the fundamental views of all of us involved are: ‘We’re on the same page.’ We got diverted from that, so it will go on for a little bit. I don’t view this as there being an undercurrent going forward. There won’t be any lingering issues.”
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with discussion, dialogue and disagreement,” he said. “Most of that is better handled in a private way. Having these sorts of discussions are fine, but we need to have the tone of all of this brought down a little bit.”
Gulati insisted that MLS and the U.S. team share similar opinions about soccer's development in America and that the entities share a strong working relationship, pointing to cooperation on each side when MLS games have conflicted with U.S. games or training periods.
Klinsmann, hired in 2011, recently completed his first FIFA World Cup as U.S. coach, leading the team to the Round of 16 in Brazil this summer. He recently signed an extension through 2018 that named him technical director as well.
Garber has been MLS's commissioner since 1999.
- Ben Estes