Today, Major League Soccer announced that Commissioner Don Garber has agreed to a five-year contract extension. The deal was approved by the MLS Board of Governors and will run through the 2023 season.
The financial terms of the new contract were not disclosed. A 2014 article by Grant Wahl suggested that Garber was earning $5 million per year in base salary (under his contract that would have expired in 2019).
Garber has held his current position with MLS since 1999. The MLS announcement about Garber’s new contract praised him for overseeing “the league expanding from 12 to 27 clubs, adding 25 new owners and developing 19 soccer stadiums across the United States and Canada.” Garber’s accomplishments led to him being inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018.
He previously spent 16 years with the National Football League, holding a variety of positions including director of marketing, senior vice president of business development, and senior vice president/managing director of NFL International.
In addition to Garber’s position as MLS Commissioner, the 61-year-old is CEO of Soccer United Marketing (SUM), a member of U.S. Soccer’s board of directors, and vice-chairman of the World Leagues Forum (an organization that represents 38 leagues around the world).
MLS as a whole has done quite well with Garber as its commissioner. However, the league has been criticized for its single-entity structure, convoluted rules, and instances in which it ignores its own rules regarding allocating players (one of the best examples being Jermaine Jones’s 2014 move to MLS).
Additionally, some question whether Garber’s roles as a member of U.S. Soccer’s board of directors, MLS Commissioner, and SUM CEO are conflicts of interest.