MLS Commissioner Garber signs extension until 2023

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Andrew Nelles
Set to begin his 21st year as the league's chief executive, the 61-year-old is set for a longer stay at the helm

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has signed a new contract which will keep him in the position until at least 2023, the league announced Thursday.

The MLS Board of Governors approved the new five-year contract, though financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The 61-year-old Garber’s contract with the league had been set to expire at the end of 2018.

Garber, who also sits on U.S. Soccer's board of directors, has overseen MLS for 20 years, taking over the role in 1999 from Doug Logan as the league struggled in its early seasons following its first year of play in 1996.

Prior to leading MLS, Garber had worked with the National Football League, and was the senior vice president of NFL International.

While he initially took over a league with 12 teams, two teams would fold by the end of 2001, leaving MLS with just 10 teams and multiple franchises operated by single ownership groups.

However, after that low point, the league has since grown, eliminating the need for a single owner to control multiple MLS franchises with the last of those situations ending in 2015 when the Houston Dynamo were sold.

MLS now stands at 24 teams as FC Cincinnati joins the league this season. Three more expansion sides will join in the coming years as David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF and Nashville are set to begin play in 2020, while Austin FC will start up in 2021.

Garber also oversaw the addition of the designated player slot, which was implemented in 2007 to allow Beckham to join the LA Galaxy while fitting in with the league’s salary cap rules.

In subsequent years the league has allowed having up to three designated player contracts, along with other ways to bring in higher-salaried players onto the roster.

In addition, under Garber’s leadership, the league introduced the mandatory operation of youth development academies in 2008.

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Twenty MLS teams also now play in a soccer-specific stadium, as opposed to one, Columbus MAPFRE Stadium, when Garber took over in 1999.

These moves have helped the growth and value of the league which has seen franchise values spike over the last decade.

Garber will oversee his 21st year at the helm when the new MLS season kicks off March 2.

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