By RYAN TOLMICH
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber knows of the perils that come with playing the game in Miami.
Garber is preparing for the league to embrace David Beckham’s Miami 2.0, but with the demise of one of the league’s early franchises, the Miami Fusion, Garber has seen first hand how easy it is for a franchise to fail in the sunshine state.
With recent setbacks securing a stadium location in Miami, Garber admits that plans for a new franchise in Miami are “back at square one.”
“We cannot go to Miami unless we have not just a viable, but a very, very strong downtown location for a city that will be provided with a Major League Soccer franchise that can privately finance a stadium,” Garber told reporters Wednesday. “To do it with one of the soccer world’s most important and significant icons and to make a commitment to make it one of the better teams, or most important teams, in North America.”
“If I were living in Miami and I was a person that was able to provide levels of support so that we would agree to go there, I would think that that would be a pretty remarkable achievement for anybody,” Garber continued. “If you can’t find the right place to play, it would be suicide for us to go anywhere. And certainly down to Miami where we have failed once before.”
As for turning those expansion efforts north of the border, Garber revealed that the league had no interest in adding more Canadian teams, citing a need for more U.S. based franchises.
“I don’t see that there’s a need for additional cities in the short or mid term,” he said. “We still have many large cities in the U.S. without teams and large portions of the country where you don’t have teams. Right now, expanding to the Western provinces is not a priority.”
However, Canadian fans may be looking at quite the consolation prize, as the league has has preliminary talks concerning holding the 2017 MLS All-Star Game in Montreal.
Garber, who met with Montreal mayor Denis Coderre Wednesday, stated that it would makes sense for the city to host “an event that would be important and worthy of the anniversary of this great city, and also be able to provide a profile for the Montreal Impact.”
The game would coincide with the city’s 375th anniversary, although Garber stressed that talks were “just preliminary.”
What do you think about Garber’s statement on the Miami situation? Where would you like to see the league expand? Would you be excited to see the All-Star Game in Montreal in 2017?
Share your thoughts below.