NEW YORK -- MLS commissioner Don Garber can breathe a little easier than he did a year ago at this time. He doesn't have to deal with the labor strife that preceded the 2010 MLS season; that headache is left for his old pal Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner whom Garber used to work with back when his game was football, not fútbol.
Of all the figures I've encountered in soccer over the years, Terry Byrne is right near the top of my most intriguing people list. A 44-year-old Englishman, Byrne has gone on a remarkable life journey from London taxi driver to massage therapist for Chelsea and England to David Beckham's best friend and personal manager to a sports business career of his own.
About half an hour before kickoff of the MLS Cup final, New York Red Bulls fans marched en masse into the Home Depot Center, their scarves held high, their voices turned up to 11. They banged their drums and sang their songs, including some anachronistic ones -- "We are the Metros, the mighty, mighty Metros" -- and they didn't stop the entire afternoon, even when they knew the game was lost.
In my last column, I wrote the American Soccer Fan's Bill of Rights. Almost immediately, I got several e-mails that considered such a thing too presumptive and smacking of unwarranted entitlement. (I can imagine King George III thinking similar things back in the 18th century, although he probably didn't e-mail Thomas Jefferson his thoughts.)
It must have been early in 1971. The North American Soccer League at last had a team in New York. The Cosmos were in the process of being born, they had a name, and one or two players had been signed. But as far as I could find out, no telephone number. I called information and asked for Cosmos soccer club ... long pause: "I'm sorry, we have no entry for Cosmos supper club."