MLS set to name All-Star opponent in 30 days
NEW YORK – MLS commissioner Don Garber says that the league is seeking
to secure the participation of a major international club for the 2011 AT&T
MLS All-Star Game with the name of the team to be announced in the next 30
“It will be of the caliber of clubs we’ve played
in the past,” Garber said on a media teleconference call on Tuesday. “It will be a major,
major international opponent. We’re in very productive negotiations with a number
of teams and we should be able to finalize it earlier than we have in the
The league will be maintaining the format of recent years, in
which an MLS All-Star squad will face a high profile international opponent. The
MLS All-Stars have locked horns with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in recent
Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of Major League Soccer, represents
La Liga leaders FC Barcelona and legendary Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara in
the United States.
The commissioner indicated that these international
powerhouses look at the All-Star Game as an opportunity to build their brand in
the United States and overseas, with the event attracting a large television
audience which has surpassed 100 countries around the world.
And the All-Star Game will only be the tip of the iceberg as
far as the international matches that the league and its clubs will host this
summer, according to the commissioner.
“We are in discussions with a number of international clubs about bringing
handful of these major clubs to the USA this summer,” he said. “We’ll continue to do
that both as part of the All-Star Game and as part of the international matches
that we’ve held for so many years.”
NY Red Bulls Designated Player Thierry Henry, who will be eligible to play in his first All-Star Game in 2011, says the event would take on an even greater importance for him if it came against his old clubs Arsenal or Barcelona.
“It would be pretty special,” he said. “I think they are the
two teams that play the best football right now in the world. That would be a
great thing. If one of the two teams is involved, it would be amazing.
“It’s a game that is very important for us to show that we
can compete with the great teams of Europe.”