Commissioner, Major League Soccer (MLS)
CEO, Soccer United Marketing
Don Garber has spent his entire career in the sports industry, working in a variety of capacities in marketing, television and League administration. On August 4, 1999, he was named Commissioner of Major League Soccer after spending 16 years with the National Football League.
Since Garber accepted Major League Soccer’s top position, his vision and leadership have enabled MLS to build a strong foundation for professional soccer in the United States and Canada. Garber has guided MLS through decisions that have solidified the League’s core business, guaranteed its long-term viability and positioned it for growth.
During his tenure, MLS has added 18 new investors, expanding and diversifying the League’s ownership group, including 10 new expansion teams. MLS recently announced plans to add four more expansion clubs by the end of the decade.
Garber has also led the effort to develop soccer-specific stadiums for MLS teams. Twelve stadiums have been built during his tenure, and two more have been renovated with soccer in mind. Also, more soccer-specific stadiums are currently in development.
In late 2001, Garber restructured MLS and spearheaded the formation of Soccer United Marketing (SUM), a company owned by MLS investors that is the preeminent commercial soccer entity in North America. His leadership also was instrumental in the League securing long-term national television agreements with ESPN, NBC and Univision. Additionally, Garber has implemented groundbreaking player initiatives such as the MLS Designated Player Rule and created the MLS Youth Development Initiative.
Prior to becoming Commissioner of MLS, Garber spent 16 years with the National Football League, finishing his tenure as the senior vice president/managing director of NFL International, where he was responsible for managing all of the NFL’s business outside the United States.