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MLS releases new roster rules, with free agency but few other changes

MLS released its roster rules today, with free agency but few other changes

Ned Dishman/Getty Images

For the first 59 days of the MLS season, the league has been operating with published rules as to the composition of rosters, the methods of player acquisition, and the mechanics for entering and leaving the league. MLS released the new version of their roster rules today, with the goal being to simplify the processes from the old document, which was over 3000 words.

Here are some more highlights from the new roster rules, but at first glance it is very similar to last year's rules, except this time this has free agency and streamlines most player acquisitions under the discovery system.

  • The salary budget for the 2015 season is $3.49 million, with players 1-20 counting against that number; spots 18 and 19 do not need to be filled, and that savings can be spread across the other 18 players. The maximum roster size is 28.
  • The minimum salary for players is now $50,000 for players under 25, and goes up to $60,000 is you are further up the supplemental roster.
  • Players with 8 years of MLS service and who are at least 28 years old will be granted free agency.
  • MLS is now announcing the base amount of allocation money each team receives per year: $150,000. Teams that fail to qualify for the playoffs, transfer a player out of MLS, or who make the Concacaf Champions league all get an undisclosed amount of additional money.
  • The designated player cap charge is now $436,250.
  • Weighted lotteries and blind draws are now a thing of the past. Former USMNT players, elite USYNT players, and players transferred out of the league for over $500K will be subject to the allocation order. For example, Andy Najar would be subject to the allocation order now.
  • Anyone who is not subject to the allocation order will come into the league through discovery signings, which is basically where a team calls dibs on a player who is not in MLS currently. In the old system, every team had 12 discovery claims and if a player your team wanted was on another team's list, you would have to trade with them or give up signing that player. Also, a team can now offer $50,000 to buy the claim off another team's list; the holding team would either have to accept or make a genuine offer to the player.
  • The Re-Entry Process is basically the same, except that its top tier has been removed with the advent of free agency.
  • The right of first refusal still exists: if a team tries to re-sign a player, fails, and that player is not subject to the Re-Entry Draft or Free Agency, that team will still retain his rights