MLS commissioner Don Garber dropped a few newsy tidbits during his annual State of the League conference call with national media on Monday afternoon.
We may circle back and dig more into some of these items. For now, the abridged version of Garber’s significant copy points:
- The league announced its official Best XI during the call. Long story short, Sporting KC dominated.
- Next year’s season will begin on March 2, five days earlier than this year’s first kick. So the 2013 launch (MLS Year 18) will be the earliest yet. While that creates a few more potential weather issues, it assists some off the other MLS endeavors, such as …
- The league will do its best to avoid scheduling 2013 matches during FIFA international dates; that’s long been a major point of contention among clubs and fans. Well, and media, too
- The league will have what Garber called a “light schedule” during the 2013 Gold Cup.
- The 2013 playoffs will follow the same format as this year’s. The only tweak, Garber said, would be in trying to add more rest days between post-season matches. That is a change that MLS absolutely must force through, based on some scenarios that created clear advantages in some of this year’s matchups.
- The league will continue to target a second team in New York as its 20th club, still aiming for a side to inhabit the new ground in Queens. There are “many ownership groups” still interested, according to the commissioner.
- The year 2016 remains a solid target to launch that second New York franchise.
- Regarding the clause in David Beckham’s contract that allows him to purchase an expansion franchise for a below market price of $25 million, Garber said lots of possibilities remain in exploration. New York, Garber reiterated, is not eligible according to the clause.
- The L.A. Galaxy, however, are eligible to be part of those discussions. That’s especially relevant because of AEG’s plans to sell the Galaxy and the Home Depot Center.
- Garber said the league invests about $20 million in youth development and reserve programs, and said MLS will continue to aggressively invest in those programs, although no return on investment has yet been seen.
- Not much new to report on stadium situations in two important markets, Washington, D.C., and New England. Garber did indicate renewed energy with D.C. United’s ongoing hunt for a home.
- Garber stressed, once again, the great need for an MLS presence in the American Southeast. Nothing new, however, in terms of hard news.