(WFI) The growth of the CONCACAF Champions League has Major League Soccer abandoning the SuperLiga in favor of its first-ever participation in the World Football Challenge.

Man Utd manager Alex Ferguson joined MLS commissioner Don Garber at the press conference. (Getty Images)

MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the change during a press conference at New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena, site of this year’s All-Star Game.

“SuperLiga was a great tournament which served its purpose during its time,” he said of the annual summer competition in which MLS clubs took on their Mexican counterparts.
“CONCACAF got more and more committed to a continental tournament with the Champions League, which we’re very supportive of. It has delivered the value we intended [in SuperLiga] to put our teams against the best competition in this region.”
The World Football Challenge, meanwhile, will allow MLS to test its talent against the best competition in the entire world.
The New England Revolution and Chicago Fire are at present the only MLS clubs committed to the showcase summer series. Football giants Manchester United and FC Barcelona are the international headliners, event organizer CAA Sports announced Tuesday.
The schedule so far includes three games: New England vs. Man Utd on July 13 at Gillette Stadium just outside Boston; Chicago vs. Man Utd on July 23 at Soldier Field; and Barca vs. Man Utd on July 30 at FedEx Field just outside Washington, D.C.

“This summer tour will provide our fans with a different value,” Garber was quoted on MLSsoccer.com.

“Years and years ago, these clubs came to play against themselves and they came and played one-off games against our clubs. Now we’re trying to wrap it all in a nice bundle and make it more compelling and interesting and provide more value for our fans and something we believe will be more exciting.”
More MLS clubs and international sides will be announced soon to round out this year’s World Football Challenge.

US World Cup bid chief takes control of NASL

The head of the USA’s failed 2022 World Cup bid will lead the North American Soccer League into its debut season.

Downs served as executive director of USA’s 2022 World Cup bid (NASL)

David Downs was appointed this week as the first-ever commissioner of the budding league, provisionally sanctioned last November by the U.S. Soccer Federation to serve as football’s second-tier.

“I’m excited to hit the ground running with the NASL as we work to elevate second division soccer in North America and play an active role in taking soccer to the next level in the region,” Downs said.
“We plan to work closely with the fans, players, administrators, other leagues and everyone else involved in this beautiful game to build up the NASL at a league and local market level.”
Prior to helming the 2022 bid, Downs was an executive at Univision Sports and before that at ABC Sports, for whom he is widely credited with securing U.S. broadcast rights to the World Cup.
He will take office on April 4 ahead of the league’s April 9 kickoff.

Watch out for INSIDER’s exclusive interview with Downs next week about the NASL’s inaugural season.

By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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