Having three Major League Soccer clubs by 2012 will help boost Canada's hopes to qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ in the future, said MLS Commissioner Don Garber ahead of Sunday's MLS championship match between Dallas and Colorado which will be played in Toronto Canada.
Garber gave the MLS credit for developing local talent, a process which he thinks helped USA reach the knockout stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. "Part of the success of the (US) national team could be attributed to the growth and quality of play in MLS," Garber said.
The 16-team league, whose only current Canadian member is Toronto, will add the Vancouver Whitecaps next year along with American outfit the Portland Timbers. A third Canadian team from Montreal will join the MLS in 2012, effectively becoming the 19th team in the league.
"We hope three first-division teams will be able to increase the drive and quality of Canada's national team," Garber said. "In time, Canada will regularly compete for one of those qualification spots from our region and the reason will be those three teams in MLS."
Neither MLS finalist made such bold moves to sign designated players as the Los Angeles Galaxy did with English star midfielder David Beckham or New York Red Bulls did by inking French playmaker Thierry Henry. However, Garber sees this as a sign of the MLS talent balance, with no club able to buy a crown due to salary limits that promote parity.
"We don't want to have a system where you can buy success," he said. "You can have designated players but you will have to balance that by not being able to spend in other areas."
But when it comes to landing sponsors and luring attention at such global gatherings as the World Cup, Garber is happy to have big-name deals such as those for Beckham and Henry.
"It's exciting to have the community know who we are and respect what we are doing," said Garber. "With the global soccer landscape we are able to build on this."