It’s not easy being the commissioner of a major sports league in the United States, too often the man in charge of it all has to take a lot of the weight and also must play down the praise. In the case of Don Garber, maybe no other commissioner in any major sports league in the United States has witnessed the game he governs evolve as much as his time in MLS.

Appointed to his position in 1999 as the league was seriously facing being folded, Garber, who was an NFL executive, seemed to take the position more as a favor to his NFL owners, who to the bewilderment of many at the time had teams in MLS, but he quickly got to work. When at times it seemed that soccer and MLS’ back was against the wall the USMNT would produce a magical run at the 2002 World Cup that kept the league alive, and later David Beckham would sign to give the league a major boost after it fell to obscurity. That boost elevated MLS to where it is today.

Now, 29 teams deep, and games that have 65,000 fans in attendance, Don Garber provided an outlook of where MLS is at in 2024.

Don Garber on roster changes

Speaking to Forbes reporter Favian Renkel in a press conference before the LA Galaxy took on Inter Miami, Garber shed some light on some issues in the league, mainly spending and roster building.

Garber will meet with 12 owners in Miami to talk about changing the roster rules, although he did not elaborate if it was for this or next season. Garber was very firm in stating, “I can name the players that couldn’t join the league due to the roster rules on my hand.”

Don Garber on Messi

Garber stressed that Messi has been a huge spark for the league but not the only spark pointing to the other sold-out venues in week 1, “I was in Charlotte yesterday with 65,000 people and Messi was not playing.”

“I think all of you know (Messi) done well, he’s happy. It’s been great for Major League Soccer. It’s great for Inter Miami.”

“I feel this league has had so much momentum and had it last year before Leo was signed. We were on track to have our best year ever, and we did. We launched our Apple partnership, launched Leagues Cup.

“We had so many exciting things coming on. Then Leo comes in and he takes it to another level. So, we’ve all learned that it’s never about any one player, but we should all cherish the great experiences when legends come into your league. “

Don Garber has no question oversaw MLS’ continued growth with great success, although questions have been raised over the formula to generate revenue due to expansion fees, and how the league will look like when there is no more expansion to be had.

Garber has also come under fire for the league’s decision to avoid sending their best to the US Open Cup, and possibly not playing in it all together. The Commissioner has stated on many occasions that MLS holds all the cards in the tournament and that it’s not financially viable how US Soccer promotes and distributes the matches.

Another point of conversion is Leagues Cup and how it breaks the MLS season in two and shifts focus from regional competitions like the Concacaf Champions Cup.