Top Stories

Garber touches on Chivas USA, Bradley comments and more at MLS logo reveal


Photo by Noah K. Murray/ USA Today Sports


As he enters his 16th season in charge of the league, MLS commissioner Don Garber is prepared to usher in a new era. However, that era may begin without Chivas USA.

With the team in the state of flux due to ownership struggles, the commissioner admitted Thursday that Chivas USA may be forced to sit out the 2015 season, and even beyond, as the league looks for a suitable owner. Garber did reiterate his hope to find a buyer by the end of the 2014 season.

The 2014 season will also see the end of the league’s current identity, signaling a new direction.

That path, according to Garber, is influenced by the youth, as the commissioner believes that the league has taken a step with those fans that have supported the league since childhood.

“It’s important to note that next year is our 20th season and it’s an important milestone for us because it is the first full turn of a generation,” Garber said. “From the amount of time that kids spend with their families, we’ve seen this enormous connection with young people that have grown up with the game.

“Now, they’ve all grown up and they are energized and they are active supporters of their local MLS club and their respective national teams and we wanted to reflect that new energy.”

However, the new logo has received it’s fair share of criticism, as the league has opted for a shield instead of a more commonly used ball representation.

“We spent a lot of time thinking about ‘do you put a ball in the logo?’ and, if you look around at the league logos around the world, they all have a ball in it,” Garber said. “The shield represents an identity that is very soccer or football oriented and we don’t believe that we need to take elements of the game to tell the world or our fans that we’re a soccer league.

“It’s what we do in our stadiums,” Garber continued. “It’s what we do with our media partners. It’s what we do with the community that’s going to reflect our connection to the global game.”

The logo debut isn’t the only criticism MLS has faced in recent weeks, as two of the league’s most recognizable faces, Bruce Arena and Michael Bradley, have voiced their opinion about issues they have with MLS — more specifically, the player acquisition process and refereeing

Arena was fined what Garber revealed to be $20,000 for comments regarding the LA Galaxy’s failed acquisition of Sacha Kljestan. Garber said he was disappointed with Arena’s comments on alleged league interference in the deal, which Garber also stated was never presented for approval.

“All of our employees, whether they’re league executives or club executives, even going so far as to including our owners, are bound by an agreement that we will not criticize the system that our ownership is fully committed to,” Garber said.

“I have enormous respect for Bruce Arena and think that he should be a real icon for our sport. It pains me to have to fine him for making comments that he obviously feels strongly about, but feels required by league rules to keep to himself. It’s something that I would have preferred not to do.”

Meanwhile, Bradley, who spoke out against the league’s referees earlier this week, earned the sympathy of Garber, who felt Bradley had a point in relation to the missed call that doomed Toronto FC in their draw with the Chicago Fire last week.

“That referee did not get it right in that game and we shouldn’t be ashamed of saying that,” Garber said. “There are many things that I don’t get right and haven’t gotten right, either every day or in my 15 years as commissioner. While we have a culture where, in our league versus baseball for example, we don’t go public with those kinds of statements, but I feel for Toronto FC.”

Despite his condolences, Garber also stated that Bradley may not escape punishment, as the league could still take action against the midfielder.

“The league is reviewing Michael’s comments and, in light of the fact that it is not an on-field issue, we have time to ensure that we make the right decision there,” Garber said.

“Michael’s the leader of that club, he’s been a great asset to the league. I have tremendous respect for him, but we’ll take a close look at it and see if there’s any discipline required, but I understand and sympathize with his frustration.”

In addition to Bradley, Garber also has a frustrated potential owner to handle, as David Beckham’s Miami project has struggled to seal a stadium plan. Despite the issues, Garber remains committed to the Miami plan and hopes to work towards figuring out details now that he is cancer-free.

“We have been struggling to get a stadium location that we think will be suitable and put the team in a position to succeed,” the commissioner said. “We’re going to go through that process and we are committed to David and committed to the city to try and find something that we think will work. Now that I’m back in the saddle, I’m going to be spending a lot more time on it.

“Right now we’re really focused on having a downtown stadium,” Garber added. “We’ve seen how that has worked for us in so many other markets. It’s a very unique and interesting city and we want to be where all the energy and all the excitement is. We have an energetic new logo and we want to have an energized new team down in Miami.”

What do you think about the Chivas USA situation? What’s your opinion on Arena’s fine? What do you think about Garber’s support of Bradley? How do you see the Miami situation unfolding?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Old logo sucks, new logo sucks, shutdown Chivas and put a team to Sacremento, and finally…if you are going to fine a player for complaining about refs, whether they are right or wrong shouldn’t matter, as that is not the point.

  2. Chivas folding = contraction 2015 and that is a disaster

    Oh wait…Two new expansion teams are joining. So literally the league is not going through contraction. I think that is why Chivas contraction is happening in 2015 so MLS can say “No, no, no, not contraction. Look over there, two new teams.

    • I’m sorry… I’m not sure I get it…. I think that’s actually a perfectly good argument, particularly as they are not abandoning the LA market, which will still have a flagship franchise and is perfectly healthy.

      Why is this negative? What you are talking about feels like semantics…. as though the NFL hypothetically moving the Jaguars to LA and rebranding them would would be a “disaster” unless the formation papers could be traced to the same franchise so that is was a “move” and not a “contraction/re-expansion” …. Who cares? It’s a net expansion… a sign of health, confidence, and growth…

      The mistake has already been admitted by the MLS purchase of the Chivas franchise– what comes next should simply be intelligent recognition of appropriate replacement. Where is this “disaster”?

      • A professional team that can no longer function and ceases to exist is a disaster for those that managed the team and owned the team. The current owners of Chivas USA is MLS. It is a disaster how poorly they did.

  3. Memo to the Don:

    Put a soccer ball in it.

    Other than that, it’s OK. Seriously — unless the league is planning no branching out beyond the core soccer business, the logo should reflect the sport in some way. A “shield” doesn’t do that, no matter what you say. It’s more a military thing to begin with — but a soccer ball would make it a sports league logo.

  4. Shocking to hear that MLS is considering folding the team. Surely a sell-and-move is a better option. As for keeping a 2nd franchise in LA, Garber is about the only person left on Earth who thinks that’s a good or viable idea.

    • Depends if it’s financially underwater, perhaps. If I can get a team for x Expansion Fee or y Fee plus outstanding debt, hmmmmmm? You might prefer new and debtless (at least to the past) to what Chivas’ state is by now, plus future operating expense, rebranding, etc.

      • I’d be pretty surprised if MLS didn’t take out the material debt as part of the repurchase… would seem to defeat the purpose of flushing the encumbrances to a follow on sale, no?

    • The difference between sell-and-move vs. fold (and open up a new franchise slot) does not appear to amount to much. Might even be semantics. All that Chivas/LA2 amounts to is a set of contracts (Stadium lease, player contracts, various vendors/suppliers, legacy staffing, and perhaps a few season ticket options). None of these would appear to be of much value and most are probably cancelable at minimal cost (except perhaps the stadium lease), and might very will amount to a net liability.

      Actually it’s hard to see how you could advocate for a location move and not prefer a fold of the existing organization– the stadium lease would appear to be the only significant contract of value. Am I missing something?

  5. Bradley should have/could have stayed in Italy.

    And how about a suitable owner for the Chicago Fire while we’re at it?

    • If they were bright they’d do what they did with SJ, move it to the next prospect city on the list. When LA2 has its stuff together, they can get a new team. But as with NYC2, Miami, etc., they are picking where they want to be and then trying to make it work as a secondary concern. Hence no owners, hiatuses, no stadia, etc. Why not take what the market is handing you?

    • That is what it sounds to me.. Don is a very smart executive. utis best to forget the name and the worst fiasco inethe leage. So rebranding and new location are both a very clever move. Moreover, with new teams coming in to the MLS, the Chivas will promptly forgotten!.
      Joe N Santos Sr

      • Ask Mark Cuban how much he has paid the NBA for refereeing complaints. This is completely normal in professional anything…have any of you had a job before? If I was going to the media to complain about my company there would be consequences.

      • Well if you think you are right? I don’t think you need to hide it…
        If your company doesn’t agree… Then be it!
        But off course you don’t wanna talk BS… But this time Arena is right!

      • Literally every American sport. No baseball manager, football coach, etc. can bash referees or the league and not get fined.

      • +! Why limit it to American? Fergie always knew when the fines were coming…

        It’s totally normal everywhere. Cost of doing business for plenty of these guys… Cuban uses those words all the time.

  6. That’s BS and shocking that MLS employees have it written into their contracts that they can’t criticize the league (company). Is that even legal? Freedom of speech concerns?

    Do other leagues in force such tactics? That comes across as a scared league, afraid of people complaining about it.

    I’m now pro Arena. Speak your mind, face a fine?

      • You Got it!!
        This is why I dont like it!
        Because is a “Company”!
        They care more about Marketing and $$$
        Not about real Soccer

      • I hate to break it to you but every professional league in the world cares more about $$$ than anything else. I also didn’t want to have to tell you this but there is no Santa Claus.

      • Then you need to watch kids community recreational soccer, not professional, college, high school, competitive club …. pretty much anything where players or coaches are paid and the league is a business where people make their livelihoods.

      • Sounds like the argument for college soccer is alive and well!

        Money does come first in the modern soccer world… but it’s important to recognize that MLS is not “behind” Europe or any other top pro league out there. MLS has more control over their brand than any of the top European leagues and that is an advantage (an indisputable one, I’d argue).

        But it does need to be used prudently, and therein lies the debate (or dispute, confusing I know).

      • You had me going for a minute there. Next I thought that you were going to tell me that the Easter Bunny wasn’t real either!

      • i do agree, but if you wanna say something… Say it!!
        Quit & leave!!
        Im sure that he can get a better club!!

      • This is what we got into with Duck Dynasty last year. You have a bill of rights vis-a-vis the government and quasi-governmental entities. You have the world of business law and contracts vis-a-vis your employer. There might be a hybrid issue like discrimination. But you don’t have the bill of rights on your employer, such as gun rights, speech rights.

        My bigger concern with Arena is I think LA was trying to circumvent the salary rules by taking SK on loan for the season and then on contract next year (once LD retired), to get around their DP limit. It’s two separate deals and MLS declined a short term loan for a player they want to sign long term. For which they would have paid a fee likely. Arena is throwing some red herrings out there to confuse the issue.

      • Not quite on topic but I read an interesting article pointing out that after Hobby Lobby a corporation can have religion but not go to he||.

        Interestingly Hobby Lobby seems to cut the other direction, which is that the business is conjoined with its owners. Which I think contradicts the legal point of the business being outside yourself when the creditors come calling.

        But the aim of the day does not seem to be intellectual consistency.

      • this is outside the lines, but since we’re talking corporations, I agree and thought the same when this happened


      • LOL, I agree. It actually used to bother me when people used to say things like “freedom of speech this or that” then I let it go because I had to understand that not everyone had legal training.

    • It is absolutely legal and has nothing to do with Freedom of Speech. The First Amendment only applies to the government censorship. MLS as a private enterprise can write contracts that allow for player fines.

      Whether they should is a different matter all together.

    • Was just about to make the same comment. What a BS policy. If something sucks – or if someone believes something sucks – he or she should be allowed to voice his or her opinion without threat of massive fines.

      • I can think of few corporations (large, medium, small, mom & pop) who would stand for their employees complaining about company policies to the press.

        Bruce Arena absolutely has the right to say whatever he wants, as do we all, but that does not come without risk of consequence.

        Most companies would just fire an employee who went to the press complaining about the way the owners and senior management do business. The fact that so many here don’t see this or willfully ignore it fairly humorous (either a lot of you are young and have never had a job) or you are really confused over who “freedom of speech” is there to protect you from (hint – it keeps your government from putting you in jail for criticizing it, it has nothing to do with non-governmental institutions).

Leave a Comment