MLS would benefit from more Mexican players - Don Garber
MEXICO CITY -- Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber has said that the league would like to have Mexican players like Giovani dos Santos.
"I don't think any player has told the story as well and as importantly for us as Giovani [dos Santos]," said Garber during a roundtable discussion with reporters on Wednesday. "He's at the prime of his career, 26-27 years old ... I got a text this morning [saying] that the ESPN SportsCenter Play of the Day was Giovani's goal against New England."
Garber's praise for Dos Santos -- who has netted five goals in his last five games for the Galaxy -- led to an open plea for more Mexicans in MLS, due to their strategic importance for the league moving forward, especially among Hispanic fans.
"I can tell you that 30 to 35 percent of MLS' fan-base is Hispanic," Garber said. "That is bigger than any other pro league in America.
"We would love to have the best possible Mexican players that we could convince to come to MLS, but it's up to the player," he added.
Garber stated that he didn't know whether a move for Carlos Vela -- linked with a move to Colorado Rapids as early as last October -- would be possible this summer, but ruled out Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez joining MLS anytime in the immediate future.
"I certainly don't believe Chicharito is coming to Major League Soccer, nor should he," stated Garber. "He's playing in the Champions League. It's great for Mexican football and we are very connected to you [in Mexico]. We think it is great for the region to have a world-class player in CONCACAF because there aren't many of them."
Real Sociedad's Vela has previously indicated playing close to home would suit him and has praised MLS, with a report two months ago on ESPN Deportes once again bringing up the specter of a move.
The rumors and possible signings of Mexicans are likely to rumble on, with Garber determined to ensure his league appeals to and grows in the Latino fan-base.
"We're trying to capture the heart and soul of the U.S. Hispanic, who is still very connected to home and has their favorite club in Mexico," he said. "We need to earn their trust and earn their respect."