Don Garber

Commissioner Don Garber: MLS has discussed transatlantic competition concept with EPL

Could the MLS Cup champions and US Open Cup winners someday square off against their English counterparts in an annual or quadrennial trans-Atlantic showdown?

That was one possibility discussed by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, among several other topics, in an appearance at the Soccerex convention in Manchester, England this week. 

“We have been talking to the Premier League about doing some sort of official competition as opposed to just having clubs come over to the country on a random basis playing in a tournament that takes place every summer,” Garber told reporters at the influential soccer business summit.

“I would love to find a way that we could play our cup champion and our league champion against an FA Cup and league champion in a tournament and play it in New York City every year. If not every year, then every four years, because I know they have other places that they want to go to grow their brands.”

Quickly dubbed the "Anglo-American cup" by the British media, the concept could spark widespread interest on both sides of the pond and beyond. But Garber stressed that the process is in its early stages, with many details – particularly in terms of scheduling amid an already-packed international calendar – still to be addressed.

“Overall there is no doubt that there are opportunities for the MLS and Premier League to work more closely together on either a tournament or some other type of activity, but that is about as far as it has gone,” he said.

Garber also addressed a bevy of other topics, including an update on the David Beckham-led MLS expansion project in Miami and the rumors of an offseason loan stint in England for LA Galaxy Designated Player and Liverpool FC legend Steven Gerrard.

“I don't think so. And I had not heard that was something that was being contemplated,” said Garber. “I don't believe we are going to see many more offseason loans happening in our league, particularly [among] what I would call the high-level Designated Players."

Beckham spent time on loan during his time with the LA Galaxy, and there were brief 2012 loan stints for Robbie Keane with Aston Villa and Thierry Henry at Arsenal.

Garber noted the complications that arose from Beckham's loan stints early in his MLS career, including an Achilles' tendon injury picked up while with AC Milan in 2010 that limited him to only seven MLS league appearances that season.