VANCOUVER, BC – Let the fun begin.
Portland Timbers were crowned 2015 MLS Cup champions on Sunday afternoon, defeating host Columbus Crew SC 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium.
That means the offseason is officially upon us.
As of Monday, teams are once again able to make trades within MLS. Free Agency begins on Tuesday. The Waiver Draft is on Wednesday. And Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft is on Friday.
There’s a reason they call it the silly season.
Suffice to say, it’s the busiest time of the year for Vancouver Whitecaps FC vice-president of soccer operations Greg Anderson and his staff.
“Yes it is, for sure,” Anderson told whitecapsfc.com. “There’s a lot of preparation leading up to the start of the Re-Entry Draft, whether it’s trying to re-sign our Re-Entry Draft eligible players or determining who might be available and could potentially be a fit for us. There are a lot of discussions and a lot of work leading up to the end of the week.”
As of now, the ‘Caps have four players eligible for Friday’s Re-Entry Draft: Steven Beitashour, Pa-Modou Kah, Mauro Rosales, and Paolo Tornaghi. They’re still in talks with a few of them, including Beitashour, with the hopes of agreeing on a new deal.
The deadline for teams to sign or trade their Re-Entry Draft players is Thursday at 2 p.m. PT.
These players also have the option to opt out of the draft. That’s the route Rosales went last year, before agreeing to a new deal with Whitecaps FC later in the month.
“I imagine there will be a lot of continuing discussions on a number of fronts,” Anderson said.
A new wrinkle to this year’s offseason is the addition of Free Agency, which gives players 28 or older with at least eight years of service in MLS the freedom to negotiate with any club if they’re out of contract or had their option declined.
Less experienced players must go through the Waiver Draft or Re-Entry Process.
“I guess we’ll really only know what the impact will be once we go through it once or twice,” Anderson said of Free Agency. “There are a number of good players that are eligible this year. It will be interesting to see what those players decide, whether they stay with their current club or if they end up going and using their right as a free agent to sign at another club.”
Either way, it’s shaping up to be a busy week around MLS – especially now that the trade window is open. Anderson said “there has certainly been a lot of discussion” and he expects a few trades to be made around the league.
So how busy does he expect the ‘Caps to be?
“We’re always looking to improve our team,” he said. “If we see something that’s going to do that, we’ll make the move.”
BUSY WEEK AHEAD
Monday: List of players eligible for Free Agency and Re-Entry Draft made public
Tuesday: Free Agency begins; Waiver Draft list made public
Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. PT: MLS Waiver Draft
Thursday at 2 p.m. PT: Deadline for teams to sign/trade their Re-Entry Draft eligible players
Friday at 12 p.m. PT: MLS Re-Entry Draft Stage One
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