MLS commissioner Don Garber diagnosed with prostate cancer

MLS commissioner Don Garber will receive treatment for prostate cancer, according to a statement released by the league on Saturday.

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MLS commissioner Don Garber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to a statement issued by the league on Saturday afternoon.

Garber, 56, will continue in his duties as commissioner as he receives treatment for the disease. Doctors have determined the cancer has not spread after a series of extensive tests. Garber has started treatment at Sloan Kettering Hospital and is expected to undergo surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital at some point in the near future. He is expected to make a full recovery.

“Obviously no one wants to hear that they have cancer,” Garber said in the statement. “However, I am being treated by exceptional doctors at two of the top hospitals in the world and am confident, as are they, that the prostate cancer will be successfully treated, with a full recovery. I plan on keeping a normal schedule and will continue managing the league and Soccer United Marketing during my course of treatment.  With the support of my family, friends, colleagues and doctors, I am feeling very strong, energized and extremely focused."

Garber joined MLS in 1999 after spending 16 years with the NFL. He guided the league through contraction in 2002 and steered it through several rounds of expansion to foster exponential growth over the past decade. His accomplishments include the introduction of the Designated Player rule designed to entice foreign stars to MLS, the focus on constructing viable academy systems to produce young players and and the recent returns of several US internationals – including Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey – to a league now capable of challenging and compensating them appropriately in the buildup to the World Cup.

Those pursuits will continue as Garber fights the disease. Garber said he hopes his situation will raise awareness and spark others to pursue regular testing during the course of their regular medical checkups.  

“Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.  It will affect one in seven men during their lifetime." Garber said. “I hope through my experience that I will be able to create awareness of prostate cancer and encourage men to get regular testing, the surest way to ensure a successful outcome for those who get the disease."