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Don Garber: U.S. youth can earn more playing time in MLS than going abroad

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber says he and United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann have "a very different view" when it comes to young Americans choosing to play in MLS or Europe.

Garber said he believes that securing regular playing time in MLS is more valuable than struggling to get on the field for larger clubs abroad.

Asked on Thursday what he thought of Klinsmann encouraging players to join foreign clubs, Garber said, "I have a very different view than our national team coach does."

Garber told a meeting of the Associated Press Sports Editors that MLS gives "players an opportunity to play day in and day out and lead a team and get lots and lots of reps, as opposed to going overseas to test their courage and test their mettle and maybe not playing."

Klinsmann has always had a frosty relationship with MLS, with tempers coming to a head in October 2014 as he suggested star players needed to prove themselves after returning to North America.

In January, Klinsmann said MLS club owners should give more thought to the "global picture," but he also approved of striker Jordan Morris joining the Seattle Sounders instead of accepting an offer from Germany's Werder Bremen.

U.S. striker Jordan Morris joined the Seattle Sounders instead of moving to Germany.

Garber added that the situation differs for each player and cited 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, who has played regularly for Borussia Dortmund recently.

"What could be better than that?" Garber said.

On the flip side is Matt Miazga, who last year was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year but has only started once since joining Chelsea in January.

Garber confirmed that MLS received a $5 million transfer fee for selling Miazga to Chelsea.

As MLS tries to compete with larger leagues abroad, Garber said clubs are increasing payrolls slowly in an effort to improve quality of play, but teams are "still in investment mode."

Jack Harrison MLS SuperDraft 150114
MLS commissioner Don Garber says his league is the right place for young players.

"It would be very easy for many of our owners to have teams that look like Chelsea in Major League Soccer," he said. "It doesn't make economic sense for us because the revenues would not be able to cover the increased costs of being able to have a $100 million roster."

Garber also said that the U.S. under-23 team's defeat in an Olympic qualifying playoff last month was a sign that U.S. Soccer and MLS can do better at improving the country's young players.

"It hurt when we didn't qualify for the Olympics," he said. "I know the rest of the world in our sport, in the men's side, doesn't view it the way they view the World Cup, but America loves the Olympics and they love the red, white and blue.

"I think it speaks to, at the youth level, we're just not good enough and not as good as we need to be."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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