NEW YORK – It is shaping up to be a busy offseason for MLSclubs with an unprecedented five player drafts taking place between the end ofthe MLS season and January.
The league on Tuesday unveiled dates and details of the newRe-Entry Draft, which will make its debut in 2010 as part of the new CollectiveBargaining Agreement between MLS and the MLS Players Union.
The CBA provided players new rights depending on the age andyears of service in the league. A player who is at least 23 years of age withthree or more years of MLS service and an option that was not renewed by hisclub (23/3 player) or a 25/4 player with an expiring contract, are eligible tobe part of the 2010 Re-Entry Draft. All players, including Designated Playersand players who have graduated from the Generation adidas program, will beincluded in this draft if they meet the age and service requirements.
The first stage of the Re-Entry Draft allows these 23/3(options) and 25/4 (expiring contract) players to be made available to allother MLS clubs at the current option price or previous contractual salary. Theorder of selection by teams is based on reverse order of finish in the 2010regular season, including the postseason.
“If you ask a player to take a reduction in pay, he cannegotiate that reduction, or make himself available to all the teams at hisprevious salary in Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft,” said Todd Durbin, MLSExecutive Vice President of Player Relations and Competition.
Players who are not selected in the first stage of theRe-Entry Draft at their current option prices and contractual salary numberswill have a second crack at joining an MLS club. The second stage of theRe-Entry Draft takes place a week later with no specific salary or optionrequirements that are part of the first stage.
MLS teams that select unsigned players in Stage 2 are thenrequired to make concrete offers within seven business days. Players may agreeto a new contract with MLS prior to Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft. Should noagreement be reached, the team that made the selection in the second stage willhold the right of first refusal on a contract with that player in the future.
Players who are not selected in either stage of the Re-EntryDraft can negotiate with any team on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“This is one of the major changes compared to previousyears,” Todd Durbin said. “In previous years, if the player’s existing teamoffered him a lower salary, the player didn’t have many options. Now theplayers have more leverage in that negotiating process.”
In past years the contractual situation of several playersoften went unresolved even up until the roster and salary compliance deadlinesin March, just weeks before the start of a season.
The new timeline (see below) will expedite decisions andplayers will have a clear idea of where they stand before the end of thecalendar year.
“It ensures that teams enter contract discussions withplayers promptly after each season,” Durbin said. “Because if they don’t, theyrisk losing the player to another MLS team.”
Players who do not meet the age and service requirementsnecessary to be included in the Re-Entry Draft and also have expiring contractsor options that are not renewed by their clubs, may be part of the Waiver Drafton Nov. 24 if they are released by their current clubs.
MLS DRAFT TIMELINE
Nov. 24, 2010 – MLS Expansion Draft
Nov. 24, 2010 – MLS Waiver Draft (players noteligible for Re-Entry Draft)
Dec. 8, 2010 – Re-Entry Draft Stage 1
Dec. 15, 2010 – Re-Entry Draft Stage 2
Jan. 13, 2011 – MLS SuperDraft