The MLS offseason officially begins this weekend – and it could start with a bang.
Following a three-month roster freeze, there will be a half-day trade window bright and early on Sunday from 6 to 10 a.m. PT in which teams can once again make roster moves ahead of Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft.
A total of eight trades took place during last year’s window, including seven from then expansion side Atlanta United FC. And it could be a similar story this Sunday as Los Angeles Football Club look to get a head start on building their inaugural roster for 2018.
The ‘Caps, for their part, have already been active in recent weeks, most notably adding promising Venezuelan striker Anthony Blondell in addition to the signings of Homegrown midfielders David Norman Jr. and Russell Teibert, but they’re certainly not done yet.
Next week gives Carl Robinson and his staff their first opportunity to bolster the roster from within MLS – first with Sunday’s trade window followed by the commencement of Free Agency on Tuesday and Stage 1 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Friday.
Also on Sunday, each club will reveal which 11 players they are protecting for Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, and which players will be available for selection.
It’s shaping up to be an interesting week, indeed.
December 10 (6-10 a.m. PT): Half-Day Trade Window
Following a three-month roster freeze, MLS clubs may begin making adjustments to their rosters. This is a four-hour window in which clubs may sign and trade players. All roster moves will be publicized by the individual clubs.
December 10 (9 a.m. PT): Option Exercise Deadline for MLS Cup Participants
Clubs that compete in MLS Cup must notify the League Office in writing of (1) players whose options they are exercising and/or (2) players who are receiving bona fide offers. All roster decisions will be publicized by the individual clubs.
December 10 (10 a.m. PT): Blackout Period begins
Blackout Period begins whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade their own draft-eligible players until conclusion of Expansion Draft.
December 12 (11 a.m. PT): 2017 MLS Expansion Draft
While Generation adidas and off-budget Homegrown Players are automatically exempt, current MLS clubs may protect up to 11 players from selection in the Expansion Draft. LAFC may select up to five players from the eligible MLS player pool. Only a single player can be drafted from any one club. The list of players eligible for selection in Expansion Draft will be released by MLS Communications at 3 p.m. PT on Dec. 10.
December 12 (12 p.m. PT): Free Agency Begins
Out of Contract and Option Decline players that were at least 28 years old during the 2017 season and have at least eight years of MLS service are eligible for Free Agency. MLS Communications will make the complete list of Free Agents available on Dec. 10.
December 13 (12:30 p.m. PT): 2017 MLS Waiver Draft
Consisting of players who have been waived by clubs and do not meet minimum years of service requirement for Re-Entry Draft or Free Agency; the draft is conducted in reverse order of 2017 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion LAFC picking 23rd. The list of players eligible for selection in Waiver Draft will be released by MLS Communications at 3 p.m. PT on Dec. 12.
December 15 (12 p.m. PT): 2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft – Stage 1
The Re-Entry Draft (both stages) is conducted in reverse order of 2017 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion club LAFC selecting last. The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft – Stage 1 will be released by MLS Communications at 4 p.m. PT on Dec. 14.
Eligible players include:
Option Decline Players: Players not eligible for Free Agency who will be at least 23 years old in 2017 with a minimum of three years of MLS experience
Out of Contract Players: Players not eligible for Free Agency who have not received a Bona Fide Offer and who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience. or are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience