IMAGE: Garber MTL

MLS to open Canada office

MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced at a press conference Tuesday that the league will soon be opening an MLS Canada office.

Garber made the announcement as part of his visit to the Montreal Impact’s Centre Nutrilait training center. Montreal, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps are the three MLS teams based in Canada.

The league will soon hire a staff for an office in Canada and Garber said that its sole goal is to further the growth of soccer and to develop Major League Soccer in Canada.

“We don’t want to have the perception that we [just] have MLS teams in Canada, we always intended that we want the support to be there for MLS Canadian teams,” Garber said. “So as part of that, this office is not just going to be a commercial office, it’s going to be working with our clubs to integrate player development programs, it’s going to work to connect the dots between our media partners, both with TVA and with TSN.

“It will be working with our merchandise and licensing entities to make sure we get more product out to all age groups, from adults and women down to young kids, and very, very importantly be there as a club resource for our Canadian clubs to be able to share all the best practices, both among themselves but also with our teams down in the States.”

Garber also discussed his desire to work with the country’s three MLS teams to help attract potential Canadian Designated Players to join the league. He referenced the league’s assistance in helping Toronto FC to attract American DPs Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.

“If a [Canadian] club comes to us and says there’s an international player that they want to bring home, like we brought [US internationals] Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore home, the league will support our clubs in helping to make that happen,” Garber said. “And there are a lot of things that will need to go into that, just as we have done that in the past with American Designated Players making MLS their league of choice. We’d like to see some of the Canadian players that are not here make our MLS Canadian teams their clubs of choice.”

The MLS Commissioner also commented on the recent foundation of the Canadian Premier League, which was officially sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association on May 6.

“It’s still early, but I congratulate them [Canadian Soccer Association],” Garber said. "I’m sure we’ll figure the integration out in a way that’s appropriate.”

“We need to figure out what’s going to happen with our USL teams or our teams that are affiliated with USL clubs,” continued Garber. “That hasn’t been resolved."

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